A new law that is scheduled to go into effect on March 1 will make it illegal to boil lobsters using the traditional approach based on the lobster’s ability to “feel pain.” Chefs, from that day forward, will be required to “render them unconscious” before boiling them. The legislation is considered the first of its kind.
Switzerland is the first nation to pass such legislation, though the UK is preparing to make similar laws regarding the preparing of lobster dishes.
Instead of throwing live lobsters into boiling water, Swiss law will mandate that the animals first be knocked out. Similarly, before stabbing a live lobster with a knife, they will need to be temporarily stunned of electrocuted first.
The new legislation is designed to uphold a portion of the Swiss constitution regarding “animal dignity.”
Other updated policies regarding the treatment of animals include that cats must have daily visual contact with other members of their species and all hamsters must at least be kept in pairs.
The UK is considering legislation that would require lobsters and other crustaceans to either be frozen as a means of killing them or stunned prior to any other action. The core point behind the changes is that lobsters are believed to feel pain.
According to UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice, as reported by the Daily Mail, “there is a serious issue.”
“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 we ought to be considering,” Eustice stated.
“The RSPCA has issued some very good guidance on the correct way to kill a lobster,” he added. “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.”