(Updated September 1, 2019). The UK government is considering a ban on boiling lobsters alive, as well as other crustaceans such as crabs and crayfish.
The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, is set to launch a consultation on the issue after pressure from animal rights campaigners. “This is an issue the Government is considering,” a spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs told the Mirror. “We are committed to the very highest standards of animal welfare and are taking strong action in this area.”
Whilst many believe that crustaceans do not feel pain, the Campaign Director of Crustacean Compassion, Maisie Tomlinson, and other animal rights campaigners, disagree. Scientific evidence, according to campaigners, shows that it is incredibly likely that crustaceans feel pain just like any other animal.
Now, the opposition party has included a ban on live lobster boiling as part of its “animal welfare manifesto,” which also includes banning trophy hunting animal testing.
“We welcome the government’s intervention on this matter and we hope that the consultation concludes that decapod crustaceans should be subject to the same animal welfare protections as vertebrate animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006,” Tomlinson said to the Mirror. “This certainly would include welfare at the time of killing, as many of the ways in which decapods are currently slaughtered are abhorrent. We also, however, urge tighter regulations on how decapods are kept whilst waiting for slaughter.”
“A recent study found that lobsters were regularly crammed into bright, highly overcrowded tanks with little provision for the welfare needs of the species,” she added. “We look forward to further engagement with the government in tackling this long-neglected animal welfare issue.”
Over recent months, animal welfare and the protection of the environment have been firmly on the UK government’s agenda. Earlier in April, one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory was confirmed to be implemented in the country, and in February, plans were announced to prevent pet stores from selling puppies.
Furthermore, last week, it was reported that the UK government had pledged £61.4 million to the fight against marine plastic pollution and in February, a ban on plastic straws was revealed. “[Plastic straws] embed themselves in the noses of sea turtles, block the throats of dolphins and choke fish,” Gove wrote in the Evening Standard. “All this so that humans can empty their glasses more quickly.”