Switzerland Becomes The First Country To Make Boiling Live Lobsters Illegal
Switzerland is to become the first country in the world to ban boiling live lobsters, with the view that it is cruel as the creatures can feel pain.
The law will come into effect in March, and will see chefs ditching the classic cooking method in favour of more humane alternatives.
As part of the country's major overhaul of its animal protection laws, restaurants will now have to render the lobsters unconscious first, as 'the practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water, which is common in restaurants, is no longer permitted'.
The new legislation is a world first, making Switzerland is the only country to have such strict laws on the methods of cooking lobsters.
UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice has said the UK government is considering amending its legislation, explaining earlier this month that it was looking into bringing in a law that would mean crustaceans had to be either frozen to death or stunned.
Eustice told BBC Radio 5 Live: "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 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."
He added: "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."
Last month, campaigners - including TV presenter Michaela Strachan and RSPCA chief scientific officer Dr Julia Wrathall of the Humane Society International - wrote to Environment Secretary Michael Gove about the issue.
In the letter, they wrote: "In light of the extreme practices they are subjected to, we call on the government to include decapod crustaceans under the definition of 'animal' in the Animal Welfare Bill (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) and in the Animal Welfare Act 2006."
Over 32,000 people have already signed an online petition in favour of changing the law.
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