The food industry should reconsider how it treats crabs and lobsters after a study indicated they do feel pain, researchers have said.

A team from Queen's University in Belfast devised an experiment involving mild electric shocks designed to distinguish between pain and unconscious reflex action.

Professor Bob Elwood said in the Journal of Experimental Biology: "Billions of crustaceans are caught or reared in aquaculture for the food industry. In contrast to mammals, crustaceans are given little or no protection as the presumption is that they cannot experience pain... More consideration of their treatment is needed as a potentially large problem is being ignored."