Skip to main content

Shellfish: Animal Welfare

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 378, tabled on 11 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including decapod crustaceans in the forthcoming Animal Sentience Bill.

Answered on

17 May 2021

There is clear evidence that animals with a backbone (vertebrates) are sentient and this is reflected in the Government’s Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill introduced to the House of Lords on 13 May 2021. However, the Bill also gives the Secretary of State a power to extend the recognition of sentience to particular invertebrates in future on the basis of evidence.

Defra has commissioned an independent review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in decapod crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, as well as sentience in the class, Cephalopoda, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid. The review will report shortly.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.