It’s a fact that lobsters and crabs feel pain. Science actually shows that lobsters and crabs may feel even more pain than humans. Ouch!

Here are five facts to prove it:

1. “The lobster does not have an autonomic nervous system that puts it into a state of shock when it is harmed.” —Jaren G. Horsley, Ph.D., invertebrate zoologist

lobsters feel pain

About to be Boiled | Naotake Murayama | CC BY 2.0 

When humans are seriously injured, their bodies often go into a state of shock, or they pass out. It’s not the same for lobsters—they feel every bit of pain when they’re hurt.

Anyone who’s witnessed lobsters being boiled alive knows that they whip their bodies and scrape the sides of the pot in their desperate attempts to escape an extremely painful situation.

2. Crabs and lobsters avoid a negative stimulus after a painful experience with it.

crabs feel pain

crabs! | Brandon Morse | CC BY 2.0 

It’s scientifically proven that crabs and other crustaceans don’t like feeling pain. Professor Robert Elwood of Queen’s University Belfast, a leading authority on the subject of pain in crustaceans, found that they rapidly learn to avoid hiding spots where they have gotten mild electric shocks. Basically, their behavior showed that they were avoiding pain.

3. Crustaceans rub a wound after being hurt.

hermit crabs sand group

Busy Life Being A Crab | Adrian Scottow | CC By-SA 2.0 

Crabs and other crustaceans will rub and pick at their limbs for extended periods of time when they’re injured, a reaction similar to the one humans and other animals have when they experience pain. This isn’t simply a reflex: Crustaceans rub at injuries because they have central nervous systems and feel pain.

4. Crustaceans respond less to pain when they’re medicated.

lobsters and crabs feel pain

Just like when other animals, including humans, are given pain medication, crustaceans feel less pain when they’re given anesthesia. A study showed that prawns whose antennae were drenched in caustic soda vigorously rubbed at them, an indication that they were in pain. However, the prawns didn’t do this if an anesthetic was put on their antennae first.

Look at it this way: If these animals didn’t feel pain, then why would they respond to pain medication? #MakesYouThink

5. Crustaceans are smart, sensitive beings.

lobsters and crabs feel pain

As intelligent, sentient animals, crabs and lobsters make decisions based on past painful events. Plus, humans and crustaceans are more alike than you may think. Like pregnant women, lobsters carry their young for nine months. In the wild, these animals travel great distances and can live for up to 100 years!

Most importantly, lobsters and crabs feel discomfort—just like us. Just because they can’t scream in agony when they’re in pain, doesn’t mean that they feel it any less than we do.

So, next time you hear someone arguing that lobsters and crabs don’t feel pain, share these facts with them.

Feeling inspired?

It’s time to face the facts. The best way to prevent crabs and lobsters who are used for their flesh from experiencing extreme amounts of pain is to stop eating them altogether. Eating these feeling, intelligent beings is completely unnecessary—especially with so many delish vegan, fishless alternatives available. There’s vegan shrimp, crab cakes, and yes, even lobster! #Yum ?