Welfare of farmed insects

Huis, A. van


When discussing insect welfare, the distinction is often made between nociception and pain, the first being a reflex response, while the second refers to a negative emotion perceived by the brain. There is some evidence that insects can experience emotions. Anthropomorphism may influence opinions on the question of how smart animals are. For insects, the precautionary principle is often used: give insects the benefit of the doubt and regard them as 'sentient beings'. Considering the large number of farmed insects needed for food or feed, some articles discourage the consumption of insects, and favour plant-based diets. However, the protection of food plants also involves the killing of huge numbers of insects. I conclude that in insect farming we need to treat insects as sentient beings.