The issue of animal rights and the effort to stop the inhumane treatment of animals is generally recognized as a noble and important goal by most members of the public. When it comes to protecting animals from common acts of mistreatment and abuse, spiders may not the first animals that come to people’s minds, as mammals are generally regarded as being the most significant victims of casual abuse. Spiders are not commonly viewed as animals that have a capacity to experience pain or negative emotions. After all, isn’t a spider’s physiology too primitive to anticipate and sense pain?
The question as to whether or not arthropods, like insects and spiders, can sense pain or are capable of suffering, remains a topic of much discussion and debate among academics and other experts. Whatever the case may be, some politicians in the United Kingdom are acquiescing to the demands of animal rights activists concerning the urgent need to introduce legislation aimed at protecting the rights of spiders and several other invertebrate animals. Activists have long been justifying their demand to legally recognize the basic rights of spiders by citing evidence that supports the notion that spiders and other invertebrates can, indeed, feel pain.
At the moment, most governments of fully developed western nations only recognize the basic rights of vertebrate animals, most of which are mammalian, such as dogs, cats, horses and most forms of common wildlife. Activists are hoping that lawmakers will introduce a legal framework that addresses spider rights. The first goal of activists is to get spiders added to the current list of legally protected animals. Activists are mainly concerned with the abuse spiders are commonly subjected to while in captivity. After spending months consulting with researchers and animal rights activists, one British minister has recently authored a written proposal concerning possible future legislative actions regarding spider rights. Unfortunately for activists and spider lovers, the proposal has been heavily criticized by other lawmakers.
Do you believe that spiders can sense pain and have the mental capacity to suffer torture?