A chef has been slated by vegans after he saved an 'ultra rare' lobster from the pot.
Austin Hopley was set to kill and cook the bright blue crustacean when it was delivered to him at The Hare on the Hill, Rochdale, this week.
However, after spotting its bright sapphire-coloured genetic quirk, the 23-year-old suffered a 'crisis of conscience' and thought better of it.
And he has since named it Larry and even found it a new place to live, the Sea Life centre Manchester.
However, despite the gesture, Austin has been criticised by some quarters of the vegan community who said restaurants shouldn't kill any animals.
Speaking about it all, Austin said: "I found out it was really rare, so I thought 'I can't kill this, I don't want to'. We couldn't see it through and put it on the menu.
"We spent hours contacting places. I was worried about how long it could spend outside the water so I called a load of different small aquatics shops and everyone was really helpful.
"We got in touch with Merlin Entertainments who own SEA LIFE and they were really happy to take it.
"They sent someone out to get him and now he's there for people to enjoy."
Adding: "I felt like I needed to make sure it happened. I felt responsible. Something so rare didn't warrant a place on the menu."
Hare on the Hill shared the story to its Facebook yesterday (6 July), explaining what Austin had done.
But some didn't take it very well.
Calling the chef out for being selective, one user said: "I'm glad Larry isn't going to be eaten but I'm so confused by your 'crisis of conscious'. Are you OK with cooking other animals because someone else has killed them for you?"
Another added: "Thank you so much for making this decision. I hope this same crisis of conscience can be afforded to other sentient beings. things are changing for our friends and it's so exciting to see."
Austin says the restaurant 'ethically' kills its lobsters before either poaching them in butter or roasting them.
However, following its encounter with Larry, the restaurant has decided to stop using them in its dishes.
But Austin made it clear that he can't wipe the menu clean because of the concerns of a few vegans.
Austin said: "After this we've made the ultimate decision to stop selling lobster. About 50 per cent of our menu is vegetarian and we're a really small place so it's really hard to please everyone at every angle.
"There's options for everybody and with time and notice if I can sustainably do something for somebody I really will."
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