During these summer days, it sometimes happens that a bumblebee or bumblebee gets very close, after which we often start stroking randomly. According to a recent study, insects may be aware of the pain we inflict on them.
British scientists have coded 41 bumblebees from the nests of the Belgian company Biobest. They heated yellow food vats to 55 °C and fed the food into pink vats, which were kept cold. When all the ponds contained equally sweet food, the bees ate from the unheated pink ponds and began to avoid the hot yellow ponds. As the hot yellow trays contained sweeter food, bumblebees increasingly preferred the hot trays. They were willing to withstand the heat in exchange for sweeter food.
Insects were given a choice between two competing options. The color codes they knew influenced the decisions they made. For example, scientists were able to conclude that the trade-off between pain and sugar is linked to associative memories: it is processed in the brains of bees. According to Lars Schitka, co-author of the study, who was involved in Trade magazine Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences figuredthis ability corresponds to the ability to subjectively experience pain.
There is no official guide
Because pain is subjective, the research team agrees that the study does not formally prove that insects can suffer or feel pain. It has shown that bees address these considerations in the central nervous system. This refers to the ability to feel pain.
Matilda Gibbons, the study’s lead author, and Chitka noted the ethical implications of their study. Insect research laboratories should consider the possibility that insects may feel pain. In addition, they are calling for an amendment to Britain’s animal welfare laws, which they believe should pay more attention to protecting insects.
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