Switzerland rules lobsters must be stunned before they are boiled

Switzerland Bans Boiling Lobsters Alive

The common cooking practice of boiling live lobsters in water was just outlawed by the Swiss government after animal rights activists and some scientists argued that lobsters' central nervous systems are complex enough that they can actually feel pain.

A new animal protection law might upset thousands of culinary enthusiasts from Switzerland, as the Swiss Government voted for the prohibition of killing crustaceans through boiling.

Neighboring Italy's highest court ruled in June that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurants because it causes them unjustifiable suffering before they head for death by fine dining.

In the United Kingdom, such decapods are not classed as "animals" and therefore aren't covered by the Animal Welfare Act, so may be killed in the vengeful manner of your choosing. According to the new law, "live crustaceans, including the lobster, may no longer be transported on ice or in ice water", reported euronews, a news media service in France.


The new edict comes in the wake of a recent Italian law that decreed lobsters can't be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens.

Professor Robert Elwood, who specializes in ecology and evolution at Queens University in Belfast, explained that the new laws put in place by the Swiss government will hopefully inspire other countries to follow. Using this definition means crustaceans do feel pain.

The new animal protection law requires that the animals are knocked out before being cooked. In experiments, hermit crabs were quick to abandon a shell if it was exposed to a large electric shock. But there's "clear-long-term motivational change [in these experiments] that's entirely consistent with the idea of pain". Instead, the invertebrates should "always be held in their natural environment".

The government order also aims to crack down on illegal puppy farms and imports, and ban devices that automatically punish dogs when they bark.

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