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Caroline Feldman's picture

Do Lobsters feel Pain?

It was interesting when we discussed pain in today’s class. There was a recent article about whether lobsters feel pain when they cook. A recent scientific report from Norway has added fuel to this long-simmering debate. The study, funded by the Norwegian government, finds that animals like lobsters have nervous systems that are too simple to process what we call "pain." According to Tony Yaksh, professor of anesthesiology at the University of California at San Diego, primitive animals like lobsters have the ability to perceive and respond to a "noxious stimulus," that is, any agent that can cause physical harm like tissue damage."When you deal with a non-verbal animal, and when you see a lobster in boiling water, you know that's a noxious stimulus," said Yaksh. But scientists like Yaksh stop short of calling what the lobster feels "pain" -- or pain as humans know it. The difference, Yaksh explained, is in our feelings. "There's a strong emotional component to what we call pain," he said.It is this emotional component that helps us remember what causes pain, said Yaksh. "It's one of those things that drives you to avoid those [painful] things in the future," he said. What is this emotional component?
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=722163

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