Call for evidence on the use of decapod crustaceans in research and education

A hermit crab. Decapods include crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, and prawns.

The Royal Society of Biology's Animal Sciences Group has put out a call for evidence to inform future policy development on the use of decapods in science. It has done this via the Home Office through its Animals in Science Regulation Policy Unit (ASRPU), in conjunction with the Department of Health, Northern Ireland. The aim is to determine the extent and practice of research involving decapod crustaceans in the UK, with a view to develop new policy under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA).

In 2022, the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act (c. 22) recognised all vertebrates, cephalopods and decapod crustaceans as sentient. The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulates the use of vertebrates and cephalopods in science and education, but not decapods.

The British Pharmacological Society encourages all researchers and educators with experience of working with decapods (which include crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, and prawns) to contribute to the call for evidence.

The Home Office is not seeking views on the policy of regulating decapods at this stage. However, the Royal Society of Biology wishes to highlight that anyone who may be impacted by future policy changes can share high-level points/concerns on policy and regulation and their impact on science with the secretariat of the Animal Science Group by emailing


Related information from the British Pharmacological Society

Published: 01 Aug 2023 in Society news