Are octopus sentient?

That's according to a recent announcement by the UK government, which recognized decapods (such as locusts and crabs) and cephalopods (such as octopus, squid and cuttlefish) as sensitive beings. A number of marine animals, including octopus, squid, crabs and lobsters, will be recognized as sensitive beings as part of a new law proposed by the U. The scope of the Animal Welfare (Sensitivity) Bill has today been expanded to recognize lobsters, octopus and crabs and all other decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs as sensitive beings. The UK has officially recognized octopus and crabs as sensitive beings, and has finally caught up with the well-established science of these intelligent animals.

Octopuses, crabs and locusts will be recognized as sensitive beings under UK animal welfare laws after a review concludes that there is strong evidence that they are capable of feeling. Locusts, octopus and squid, welcome to the sentient beings club (if you're in the UK, at least). Octopuses are not recognized as “animals” when it comes to federally funded research in the United States, so they don't have to receive the same standards of humane treatment as other laboratory animals. If you've watched the documentary My Octopus Teacher, you'll know that cephalopods can be incredibly intelligent, capable of remarkably complex behavior, including potential physical and emotional pain.

The UK government has officially included decapod crustaceans, including crabs, lobsters and crayfish molluscs and cephalopods, including octopus, squid and cuttlefish, in its Animal Welfare Bill (Sentiencia). The central nervous system of invertebrates is immensely different from that of vertebrates, for example, octopuses have a donut-shaped brain on their heads and eight other “mini-brains” on each tentacle. This loophole is recognized by the Animal Welfare Act and the National Institutes of Health and means that octopuses are not protected in nature or science. The report concludes that cephalopods, a group of molluscs that includes squid, octopus and cuttlefish and decapods, a type of crustacean that includes crabs, lobsters and shrimp, should be formally recognized and treated as sensitive beings, reports Katie Hunt for CNN.

The brain structure of octopuses is very different from that of humans, but it has some of the same functions as mammalian brains, such as learning abilities, including the ability to solve problems and, possibly, the ability to dream. Due to their lack of backbone, octopus and other similar invertebrate animals have previously struggled to be recognized as sentient despite their complex central nervous system. Octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and other organisms classified as cephalopod molluscs have been officially included as susceptible beings under a new amendment to UK law. According to a new report commissioned by the UK government, animals such as locusts, crabs and octopuses are sensitive beings that feel pain, which serves as a step towards protecting the welfare of these species, reports Asha C.

If you've seen the documentary My Octopus Teacher, you'll know that cephalopods can be incredibly intelligent.

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