But that doesn't mean that crustaceans can't experience the same pain stimuli, anticipation, and memory of painful events that an octopus does. In your research, particularly with octopus, what was the most surprising evidence of anecdote you found about their intelligence or sense of sentience? Not only can they remember where home is, but they can go out and hunt, come back, and then go out the next day and hunt in a different place. I have also seen octopuses unscrewing jar lids easily to get a small crab inside. And, people do experience fear so great that it can cause them do die from the fear. Sometimes, they’re even eaten alive! Live octopus is served at about a … . Understanding that if there's a crab under a rock and you got it, there might not be another crab for that rock for a while. One of them dug up a coconut shell and hauled it around with it, and when it got to the point where it wanted to rest, it picked up the shell, tucked itself inside of it, and went to sleep. The controversial practice of eating live animals is still popular in many parts of the world. Octopuses can feel pain, just like all animals. She commented on the practice of cooking and eating octopuses alive. What would be the best way to kill an octopus quickly and with minimal pain to the animal? No animal deserves to be hacked to pieces while still alive. The controversial practice of eating live animals is still popular in many parts of the world. There's everything to learn about them. “[T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. But the octopus, which you've been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. Are there any ways, short of medical sedation, that one could reduce the amount of suffering while still eating an animal alive? But the octopus, which you've been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. MUNCHIES: Have you come across the practice of eating live octopus over the course of your research on cephalopods? I think it was the Hawaiians who used to bite down on the brain to kill it quickly. I suspect that they're just throwing an octopus on a chopping block and cutting off pieces as they go, and they are absolutely causing that animal suffering. [T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. In the written material that PETA has issued to accompany the video, octopus expert Jennifer Mather makes it clear, as well, that octopuses feel … If you've got pieces of arm, because there's so much local control, they might react to the painful stimuli that they get, but they're probably not exactly "feeling pain," because they're disconnected from the brain. But in some corners of the world, there is less taboo assigned to eating the still-breathing. “If I was an octopus trying to be eaten alive I would have done the same. This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in December 2014. As the researchers note in their paper, we know very little about whether cephalopods recognize pain or … They use tools, and they'll think about what they want to do with something even before they do it. Understanding that if there's a crab under a rock and you got it, there might not be another crab for that rock for a while. Sign this petition to demand officials protect these animals and stop restaurants from preparing and serving live animals. They use tools, and they'll think about what they want to do with something even before they do it. It's probable that the octopus's reaction to pain is similar to a vertebrate. What would be the best way to kill an octopus quickly and with minimal pain to the animal? The octopus has a nervous system which is much more distributed than ours. That is a living thing, pain or not it is conscious and most likely doesn't want or like to be eaten alive. One of them dug up a coconut shell and hauled it around with it, and when it got to the point where it wanted to rest, it picked up the shell, tucked itself inside of it, and went to sleep. So it’s a barbaric thing to do to the animal.”—Cephalopod expert Dr. Jennifer Mather Even though plants probable don't feel pain and most defiantly don't suffer from pain signals. By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. . If they stuck a shrimp on a block of ice until it's unreactive, it's probably less aware than it would be if you picked it out of the water and started chewing it from the tail up. They have a nervous system which is much more distributed than ours…. MUNCHIES: Have you come across the practice of eating live octopus over the course of your research on cephalopods? Wtf? They can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation—they can remember it. In Seoul, South Korea, there are entire restaurants centered around dining on octopuses whose arms continue to squirm when they're placed on your plate—and as they wriggle down your throat. You don't have to figure out exactly where the brain is, and you don't have to worry about an anaesthetic tainting the flavor of the meat. We don’t need to consume oysters, scallops, and clams to survive. dining on octopuses whose arms continue to squirm. Only someone with a mental disorder would do that. And while the footage did spread across the Internet like a pirated version of Game of Thrones, it's probably safe to say that it's not the attention Seaside Girl Little Seven wanted. But don't feel TOO sorry for her . There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain. They also have spatial memory. Crustaceans, cephalopods, and mollusks don't have any internal temperature regulation, so if you freeze them you can get them to the point where they're really not conscious. You can give an animal a quick and minimally painful death before you eat it—at the least, you can destroy the brain. She added, “Octopus expert Dr. Jennifer Mather has stated that ‘There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain,’ and explained that an octopus who is being eaten alive is in just as much pain as a pig, fish, or rabbit would be.” JUNG YEON-JE via Getty Images. Octopuses can feel pain, just like all animals. My thought is that if you had a whole octopus and tried to eat it, it would be a completely repellant situation because the octopus would try to climb out. I know this from person experience and from what I've heard from others. And one of the things they looked at in terms of rules was, OK, we have to give consideration to vertebrates, but are there any invertebrates that we should give ethical consideration to? They can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation—they can remember it. To do this, octopus use a protein called protein acetylcholinesterase, or AChE. Of eating an octopus alive, Dr. Jennifer Mather, an expert on cephalopods and a psychology professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, says, “ [T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. She has studied octopuses and their close relatives since 1978, and has done extensive field research into the cephalopod mind. Octopuses are eaten alive in several countries around the world, including the USA. But there was a discussion I had with PETA about someone who was frying octopuses alive in New York, and I was asked to comment on that. Octopuses are sometimes eaten or prepared alive, a practice that is controversial due to scientific evidence that octopuses experience pain. There's an interesting situation because the European Union, over the last few years, looked at all of their animal welfare rules. If you've got pieces of arm, because there's so much local control, they might react to the painful stimuli that they get, but they're probably not exactly "feeling pain," because they're disconnected from the brain. How can we account for differences in the perception of what constitutes cruelty between cultures? What about other types of sea creatures—the live langoustine, for example, that caused waves for Copenhagen's Noma? There's no doubt about it. But in today's day and age, we get to see all the glorious FAIL! "I understand your emotional response but it's unconfirmed by fact." After quite some deliberation, they decided that in terms of research, you should give consideration to cephalopods, including octopus and squid, but they did not include crustaceans. Short of cannibalism, the most controversial issues in meat-eating today are likely the consumption of dog meat—due to our social and sentimental attachments to the canine species—and the practice of eating live animals. You just stick it in the freezer. We don’t yet know whether oysters feel pain, but if they do, they represent a very large number of suffering animals—a single meal might require the deaths of 12 or more oysters. Rather than trying to reckon with apples and oranges (or spaniels and squids), I consulted cephalopod expert Jennifer Mather, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and author of numerous studies on octopus and cephalopod sentience, including "Cephalopod consciousness: Behavioral evidence" and "Ethics and invertebrates: a cephalopod perspective." Cultural live animal traditions. But they really don't have the central nervous system to be, so to speak, making decisions and suffering. There's a wonderful video from some guys in Australia—there are several that have done this actually—they need someplace to hide while they rest. I've talked to other people about this—there is cultural sensitivity, and there is suffering. ... researchers have observed an octopus’s color changing and activity patterns and looked for any self-inflicted harm (swimming into the side of a tank or eating … The octopus has a nervous system which is much more distributed than ours. What's going on physically when their arms continue to move after they've been cut off? Of eating an octopus alive, Dr. Jennifer Mather, an expert on cephalopods and a psychology professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, says the following: “ [T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to … They're wonderful animals. There's everything to learn about them. You just stick it in the freezer. I suspect that they're just throwing an octopus on a chopping block and cutting off pieces as they go, and they are absolutely causing that animal suffering. By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. It's not just a sense of direction, it's a sense of where you've been. They're fascinating. The designations of welfare, cruelty, and simple squeamishness are not always clear-cut—especially in issues surrounding the types of animals that we don't hold particularly near and dear. “ [T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. Why is it that we almost universally condemn leaving a dog out in the rain or kicking a cat, but haven't yet decided whether slowly dismembering a sea creature is truly disagreeable? Do Octopuses Feel Pain? But goodness knows, I have eaten raw oysters and raw clams. So, in most cases it would be painful, yes, and terrifying, but there can also be some protection from the experience, not always but sometimes. Jennifer Mather, PhD: It's not something I've come across in my research. How can we account for differences in the perception of what constitutes cruelty between cultures? dining on octopuses whose arms continue to squirm. The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms … What do you think an octopus is experiencing when it's being cut into pieces and eaten alive? Of eating an octopus alive, Dr. Jennifer Mather, an expert on cephalopods and a psychology professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, says the following: “ [T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. But there was a discussion I had with PETA about someone who was frying octopuses alive in New York, and I was asked to comment on that. There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain. They're fascinating. It's just as painful as if it were a hog, a fish, or a rabbit, if you chopped a rabbit's leg off piece by piece. If you look at us, most of our neurons are in our brain, and for the octopus, three-fifths of its neurons are in its arms. So it's a barbaric thing to do to the animal. Serves her right,” one person wrote. Cephalopod expert Jennifer Mather, PhD explains that an octopus likely suffers tremendously while being cut up. This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in December 2014. The designations of welfare, cruelty, and simple squeamishness are not always clear-cut—especially in issues surrounding the types of animals that we don't hold particularly near and dear. A 2010 article in The Guardian ignited heavy opinions for opening discussion about Copenhagen restaurant noma's dish of still-writhing langoustine; since, the issue has popped up here and there in editorials and YouTube videos. 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