It’s peak crab season in the Chesapeake Bay region, a place historically known for its blue crabs. But Vibrio, a dangerous bacteria, has sickened nine people.
The crab meat linked to the Vibrio outbreak was imported from Venezuela. Now you’re probably wondering why Maryland, a state known for its blue crab, imports crab meat from South America. Well, it’s because overfishing and runoff from nearby chicken factory farms decimated the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab populations.
But the risk of Vibrio isn’t the only reason you should stop eating crabs. You see, many people think crabs don’t feel pain, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. And sadly, these poor animals pay the price for this misguided thinking. So to debunk the myth that crustaceans don’t feel pain, here are some facts.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology reveals that European shore crabs experience pain. Queen’s University Belfast professor Bob Elwood, who led the study, notes that the crabs’ response to adverse stimuli “fits all the criteria of pain.”
In an interview with the CBC, Professor Elwood said:
We can’t prove pain in any animal species. You can only do studies and if they’re consistent with the idea of pain, you begin to think perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s what we call the precautionary principle and [it] gives them some protection in case they do feel pain.
In previous studies, researchers found that hermit crabs and prawns exhibit similar pain-avoidance behaviors indicative of sentience and feeling. They now believe that all decapod crustaceans, a group that includes lobsters and crabs, feel pain. This has prompted Professor Elwood to seriously question the absence of laws protecting their welfare.
To make matters worse, in the United States these animals are denied even the most basic legal protections. Not a single federal animal welfare law protects crustaceans or fish. As a result, the seafood industry subjects countless animals to lives of unimaginable pain and slow, cruel deaths.
Like crabs, lobsters, and crayfish, other marine animals feel pain. In fact, fish are similar to dogs and cats in their experience of pain and pleasure.
In 2011 Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a fish slaughter facility and exposed fish being skinned alive. They thrashed and fought to escape the workers’ knives. As the fish gasped for oxygen, workers ripped off their skin with pliers.
Sounds terrible, right? See for yourself.
Fortunately, you have the power to stop the needless suffering of these sensitive animals. By choosing a compassionate vegan diet, you can ensure that lobsters, crabs, fish, and other animals are spared this senseless cruelty.