Switzerland has just made a huge step in the right direction for sea animals in the food industry – a new animal welfare regulation will make boiling lobster and all other crustaceans alive completely illegal. Transporting lobster alive in ice or icy water will also be banned, as the Swiss Government has ruled they need to be kept in their natural environment.
The regulation will come into effect from March 1st.
Many restaurants import live lobsters to their kitchens in ice or ice water, before boiling them alive for customers to eat. Italy’s Supreme Court banned lobster from being stored alive in ice only last year, as this is believed to cause the animals immeasurable suffering.
Most lobsters die during boiling, but there is the chance that some may live and die when eaten. While this new regulation doesn’t ban eating lobster and other crustaceans, the animals must be stunned before being killed. Electric shocks or the mechanical destruction of a crustacean’s brain will be the only permitted stunning methods.
Animal rights groups have been fighting for years to help the grant rights for all animals, including sea creatures. This law is expected to stir up controversy, as the gastronomy industry argues bacteria are released from the shell of a lobster once killed, but boiling them alive prevents this. On the other hand, those who have worked hard to bring light to such issues and pushed for change are pleased. After all, science has proven what many have believed for centuries – animals feel pain, including those who inhabit the sea.
Not only do lobsters and crustaceans benefit (albeit very slightly) from the Switzerland Government’s move towards a more ethical animal welfare act – automatic anti-barking collars for dogs will become illegal and new regulations are fighting illegal puppy mills. Animals at public events will also be required to have an owner taking full responsibility for their welfare.