bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Do honeybees feel pain?

I have no intuition as to whether honeybees feel pain or not -- though what we would call “stress” can be quite obvious from their behaviour patterns.

Norwegian scientists have been studying pain in animals. They don't think lobsters feel pain when boiled alive (they have 100,000 neurons as opposed to 100 billion neurons in humans and other invertebrates. Peter Fraser of the University of Aberdeen says: ”while this allows them to react to threatening stimuli, there is no evidence they feel pain”

So what about honeybees?
Honeybees deserve special care, Prof Farstad said, because they display social behaviour and a capacity to learn and cooperate.
That sounds just a tad anthropomorphic to me. Why should social behaviour and learning necessarily be linked to pain?


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