frcrkr
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:57 pm
Occupation: Teacher

Earthworm Pain?

Postby frcrkr » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:13 pm

Salutations, All ~

As I'm judging Science Fair projects, I'm worried about the worm experiment and whether the worms feel any pain/suffering. One of my students did an awesome project and I see a similar one on this site, but I'm still concerned about PETA coming down on me. Any advice?

kevala
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:50 pm
Occupation: Student

Re: Earthworm Pain?

Postby kevala » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:40 am

frcrkr wrote:Salutations, All ~

As I'm judging Science Fair projects, I'm worried about the worm experiment and whether the worms feel any pain/suffering. One of my students did an awesome project and I see a similar one on this site, but I'm still concerned about PETA coming down on me. Any advice?



I am a student but I did judge in the sience fair and before a student does a project that involves animals or human subject. They get an ethics approval, the ethics person you could probably contact, by who is in charge of the reginal science fair or provincial science fair and they could probably tell you.

Hope that helps
by: kevala :)

MelissaB
Moderator
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Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:47 am

Re: Earthworm Pain?

Postby MelissaB » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:24 am

Hi,

Here is a news article I found on the topic:

Worms on a Hook Don't Suffer?

Mon Feb 7, 9:37 AM ET

OSLO (Reuters) - Worms squirming on a fishhook feel no pain -- nor do lobsters and crabs cooked in boiling water, a scientific study funded by the Norwegian government has found.

"The common earthworm has a very simple nervous system -- it can be cut in two and continue with its business," Professor Wenche Farstad, who chaired the panel that drew up the report, said Monday.

Norway might have considered banning the use of live worms as fish bait if the study had found they felt pain, but Farstad said "It seems to be only reflex curling when put on the hook ... They might sense something, but it is not painful and does not compromise their well-being."

The government called for the study on pain, discomfort and stress in invertebrates to help in the planned revision of Norway's animal protection law. Invertebrates cover a range of creatures from insects and spiders to mollusks and crustaceans.

Farstad said most invertebrates, including lobsters and crabs boiled alive, do not feel pain because, unlike mammals, they do not have a big brain to read the signals.

Some more advanced kinds of insects, such as honeybees which display social behavior and a capacity to learn and cooperate, deserve special care, she said.

"We have particular responsibility for animals that we have in our custody. That is not a scientific opinion, but the ethical side of the issue," Farstad said.
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I was unable to find the scientific article it was referring to. In universities, projects involving invertebrates do not need special permission. Personally, studies like this also make me nervous (note that that is my own personal opinion, and not the opinion of Science Buddies!), but at the moment there are no regulations on them that I know of.

Hope this helps!


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