The ban on boiling live lobsters and crabs moved one step closer over the weekend when ministers officially recognised all crustaceans as ‘sentient beings’.
An amendment to the Animal Welfare Bill currently going through Parliament is in the process of making it illegal to cause ‘needless harm and suffering’ to invertebrate animals.
The amendment published on the Government’s website reads: “This amendment adds cephalopod molluscs and decapod crustaceans to the definition of ‘animal’ for the purposes of the Bill.”
This proposed law change would make it a criminal offence for any person who is responsible for a kept animal – including crabs and lobsters – to cause it unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare needs.
This comes after a study conducted by experts from the London School of Economics concluded that there was ‘strong scientific evidence decapod crustaceans – crab and lobster – and cephalopod molluscs – octopus and squid – are sentient’.
Other research has also shown that decapod crustaceans have opioid receptors and respond to opioid painkillers in a similar way to vertebrates (animals with a backbone), which indicates strongly that they do indeed feel pain.
Both lobsters and crabs have also been known to demonstrate certain behaviours that shows their suffering, such as attempting to escape the boiling water.
Zac Goldsmith, the animal welfare minister, said in a statement: “The UK has always led the way on animal welfare and our action plan for animal welfare goes even further by setting out our plans to bring in some of the strongest protections in the world for pets, livestock and wild animals.
“The animal welfare sentience bill provides a crucial assurance that animal wellbeing is rightly considered when developing new laws. The science is now clear that crustaceans and molluscs can feel pain and therefore it is only right they are covered by this vital piece of legislation.”
Animal welfare campaigners have welcomed the move, with the executive director of Humane Society International/UK Claire Bass saying: “Recognition in law that animals like lobsters and octopus are sentient is a very welcome affirmation that this bill is underpinned by science.
“This is an important first step to establishing more respectful treatment of these amazing animals. Knowing their capacity to suffer we cannot now turn a legislative blind eye to some of the appalling things that are done to them, such as dismembering or boiling them alive.
“We look forward to working with government, industry, and scientists to agree and implement humane solutions.”
Woman seriously injured after being attacked by four of her own dogs
Armed police officers, fire crews and an ambulance were called out to diffuse the situation
A woman in St Helens has been left seriously injured after being mauled by what is believed to be four of her own dogs.
Merseyside Police were called out to the Sutton area at around 10am yesterday, December 6th, following reports of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, each of which were initially described as bulldogs.
Armed response officers, Merseyside fire service crews and an ambulance were also sent to the scene.
The four dogs have been seized and the woman remains in hospital with ‘serious’ injuries, Merseyside Police said.
The force added in a statement: “Emergency services are in attendance in Sutton today, Monday 6 December.
“At around 10.15am, police were called to the Reginald Road area to a report of a woman being attacked by her four dogs, initially described as bulldogs.
“The woman sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital. The dogs have been seized by Merseyside Police.
“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing. Anyone who has any information is asked to contact us via @MerPolCC or 101 with reference 21000844839.”
The woman’s neighbours have since been describing the scene, with one telling the Liverpool Echo: “You should have seen it before, the whole street was filled with police, ambulance and everything, it was mad.”
Another resident down the street noted: “It’s normally a nice estate so it’s obviously really surprising when something like this goes on.”
Government to review Omicron Covid rules on December 21st
The rules are expected to stay in place until the new year
The rules and regulations brought in to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will reportedly be reviewed on December 21st.
According to new reports today, while the rules will be reviewed four days before Christmas Day, they are unlikely to be lifted and will instead be kept in force until the new year.
It has also been suggested that the government’s Plan B – which will enforce mandatory masks in pubs and restaurants and advice to work from home – is not yet needed.
A Government source told the MailOnline: “In terms of Plan B, we are not there yet. The ambition is that people can have a much more normal Christmas than last year.
“That depends on what the data shows about the new variant. But certainly the hope is that things stay as they are in the next couple of weeks.”
The current rules mean face masks in shops, hairdressers, banks and post offices are now mandatory, as well as on public transport.
The rules also require anyone who comes into contact with someone who tests positive for Omicron to quarantine for ten days – even those who are fully vaccinated.
However, a Sage scientist recently said the new variant is ‘not a disaster’, and that ‘some people may be ‘hugely overstating the situation’.
Microbiologist Prof Calum Semple says vaccines are ‘still likely to protect you from severe disease’, telling BBC Breakfast: “This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation.
“Immunity from the vaccination is still likely to protect you from severe disease. You might get a snuffle or a headache or a filthy cold but your chance of coming into hospital or intensive care or sadly dying are greatly diminished by the vaccine and still will be going into the future.”
Stevenson Square set to be fully pedestrianised and turned into a proper public square under new plans
Local residents have been encouraged to come forward and contribute towards the planning of the new space
Plans to permanently pedestrianise the Northern Quarter’s Stevenson Square have been released to the public.
A large proportion of the popular square has been closed off from traffic since last summer, when the council closed several roads to encourage pedestrians back into the city centre.
It was also hoped that the closure of roads would help bars, restaurants and cafes to expand out into the streets to enable social distancing throughout the pandemic.
Yet while some city centre road closures were reversed in October when the emergency Covid legislation came to an end, many roads remained closed around the Northern Quarter after the council were put under pressure deliver improved walking and cycling routes.
And Stevenson Square was one of them, with new plans for the area released detailing proposals for at least twenty new trees, seating, bike racks, a ‘rain garden’ and sustainable draining systems.
Further trees could potentially be planted subject to future surveys to find optimum space, and make allowances for underground utilities.
Traffic will still be able to pass through Lever Street but, where it would usually meet the square, the road will instead become a raised carriageway with a controlled pedestrian crossing.
Jon-Connor Lyons, Labour councillor for the Piccadilly ward, said on the plans: “We really welcome this final consultation on the proposals to permanently pedestrianise Stevenson Square.
“The Northern Quarter is a tightly-packed neighbourhood with buildings of various heights, history and architectural merits, though it is lacking public space for people to relax.
“What I’d like to see is more non-commercial seating in the square that is also age-friendly, as well as a friendly environment for artists and creatives to help further the space. I encourage residents to come forward and contribute towards the planning of this space.”
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, added: “I’m incredibly pleased that we’re able to take the next step towards creating a more accessible and thriving Northern Quarter.
“Making more space available for people to walk and cycle as well as introducing more green space were just two of the many priorities highlighted to us by residents and businesses throughout the consultations we’ve run.”
For more information and to have your say on the pedestrianisation, visit the Manchester City Council website here.