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Boiling lobsters alive ruled an act of cruelty in Switzerland

13 January 2018

"I don't know how many lobsters are boiled in Switzerland per year, but it's probably quite a small amount compared with the billions upon billions of crustaceans that are used each year in the human food chain", he says.

From March 2018, lobsters being prepared in Switzerland will need to be knocked out before they're put to death, or killed instantly.

In the United Kingdom, such decapods are not classed as "animals" and therefore aren't covered by the Animal Welfare Act, so may be killed in the vengeful manner of your choosing.

Various experiments conducted at Queen's University in Belfast showed that crabs gave up a dark hiding place they inhabited when exposed to electric shocks.

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The government explained the crustaceans can be "stunned" by electrically shocking the sea creature, or by the "mechanical destruction" of their brains.

Activists say that lobsters and other invertebrates should therefore be killed humanely, either by putting them in a state of unconsciousness or killing them immediately.

"The practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water, which is common in restaurants, is no longer permitted", the government order stated.

Along with the new cooking methods, the Swiss law also outlines new guidelines on transporting the animals from the oceans to stove and ultimately, your dinner table.

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The government also ordered the live crustaceans to be transported in their natural habitat and not on ice or icy water.

Some scientists argue that lobsters can feel pain, but the scientific community is divided on this.

According to Jonathan Birch, assistant professor in philosophy at the London School of Economics, animal welfare scientists define pain as "an aversive sensation and feeling associated with actual or potential tissue damage". The Lobster Institute in ME argues that the lobster's central nervous system is primitive and insect-like, so they can react to stimuli but don't actually have the brain power to process pain. Elwood has studied crustaceans for decades and has explored whether the animals do in fact feel pain-a belief that's often debated. He has performed experiments on crabs by offering them a choice of two shelters: one that consistently emits shocks, and another that does not. But there's "clear-long-term motivational change [in these experiments] that's entirely consistent with the idea of pain".

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Boiling lobsters alive ruled an act of cruelty in Switzerland