Switzerland is about to become the very first country in the world to outlaw the cooking method of boiling lobsters alive.
This ban is set to be introduced as part of the Swiss government’s review of animal protection and welfare laws.
Swiss authorities believe lobsters are capable of feeling pain, meaning this classic cooking practice could be considered to be tremendously cruel.
The new law means chefs will have to confirm lobsters are unconscious before ending their lives.
Swiss authorities have instead advised electrocuting or striking lobsters before stabbing at them with a knife.
Ive never had the balls to put a live lobster in boiling water. Never have, never will. And now reading about how Switzerland has banned boiling lobsters alive, proves why I will never do it 😫
— Elizabeth Gutierrez (@eligtrz) February 18, 2018
No other country on the planet has any such laws in place when it comes to cooking this controversial delicacy. However, the tide may very well be turning.
UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice has recently discussed the potential for similar laws to be passed in the UK.
Appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live, Eustice discussed evidence of how decapod crustaceans are capable of feeling pain, describing this as a ‘serious issue’:
Switzerland has banned boiling lobsters. Seems US isn’t as progressive in stopping animal cruelty. It’s barbaric
— Koko Moko (@beautifulgorila) February 16, 2018
We know that among some of the larger crustaceans, such as lobsters, they do not feel conscious pain in the way that we do.
But there is some evidence that they have a nervous system that enables them to detect stress and this is something that we ought to be considering.
The RSPCA has issued some very good guidance on the correct way to kill a lobster. You can either gradually freeze them, in which case they literally lull into unconsciousness.
Or there is even a device called a ‘crusta-stun’, which is a stunning device that knocks a lobster out.
While being boiled alive, #crabs & #lobsters will struggle and attempt to free themselves, while also shedding their limbs. Some studies have shown that crabs feel the pain of being boiled alive for as long as three minutes. https://t.co/peXK5EvM1f #animalcruelty pic.twitter.com/j8zMkPHaIX
— Kelly Levenda (@KellyLevenda) February 15, 2018
I’ve spent many an hour sitting down with our officials and experts.
We are looking at this issue but it is a complex one and the evidence is actually quite mixed.
A petition on Change.org is pushing for crabs and lobsters in England and Wales to be protected from pain in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006:
— Let Fish Live (@letfishlive) February 9, 2018
An EU panel has stated that many of the ways in which these animals are currently slaughtered are inhumane. They are often simply torn apart or boiled alive.
It is estimated that a brown crab boiled alive may remain conscious for up to three minutes, something which would be considered completely unacceptable in a vertebrate animal like a pig or chicken.