How Can They Know?

There’s a new study seemingly funded to (among other things) justify fishing with live bait, that purports to prove that worms on a hook feel no pain. It also says that lobsters don’t suffer when put into a pot of boiling water. Apparently, the authors of the study think that these critters are too dumb to hurt.

Now, I don’t know how to get into the head of a crustacean, let alone a night crawler, but I’m always a little suspicious of such firm pronouncements on subjects that truly are ultimately unknowable. They sound more like rationalization than science (like the old theory, that’s unfortunately not all that old, that the medical profession had that newborns were also insensate to pain, and that their cries and wails during unanaesthetized surgical procedures was just a reflexive response). It may be that worms wiggle mindlessly, but I suspect that if a lobster being put in a pot of boiling water didn’t mind, one wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep them in it.