August 4, 2016
I think most people would agree that harming anything that can suffer or feel pain is a negative thing. Unfortunately, our current food and agricultural industries contributes to this bad practice regularly. So what can a person do if she wants to reduce the inhumane treatment of animals while getting all the nutritional benefits that animal foods provide? The answer lies in the insect kingdom.
Are they sentient creatures? Do they feel pain?
Whether an organism is sentient or not has a big impact on how humans think about it and how they treat it. That’s why, at least for vegans, plants are ok to eat, but animals are not. Insects are sort of a special case in this sense, because while they belong to the animal category, their sentience is still up for debate.
It is a controversial topic, but even tenacious supporters of insect sentience, such as Jeffrey Lockwood, an entomologist whose graduate students have to anesthetize insects before conducting experiments on them, say that there is no hard evidence for this claim. Hans Smid, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, an expert on parasitic wasps, which are some of the most behaviorally sophisticated insects on Earth, on the other hand, said: “I am absolutely convinced that insects do not feel pain.”