Switzerland just made it illegal to boil live lobsters

Switzerland Bans Boiling Lobsters Alive

Switzerland has banned the common culinary practice of throwing fresh lobsters into boiling water as part of an overhaul of its animal protection rules.

The government is also outlawing the practice of transporting live crustaceans like lobsters in icy water or on ice, saying they must "always be held in their natural environment".

"With the data we know, it is highly likely that the animal will be in pain", he says.

A similar law, which ruled it's cruel to put lobsters on ice, was passed last June in Italy's highest court.

Animal rights advocates argue that lobsters have sophisticated nervous systems and feel significant pain when boiled alive. Robert Elwood, who led the team carrying out the experiments, said, "They were willing to give up their hideaway in order to avoid the source of their probable pain". "We give protection to birds and mammals, now we give very little protection to decapod crustaceans - lobsters and crabs", Elwood said.

Some people have contended crustaceans like lobsters can't feel pain, since they only possess nociception, or "a reflex response to move away from a noxious stimulus", according to Nature's news blog.

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Elwood's studies suggest crustaceans will make serious life and death decisions when exposed to pain.

At Queen's University in Belfast, scientists found that crabs gave up important hiding place after repeatedly being given electric shocks in that particular location.

But for Elwood, this is only the first step in addressing this issue.

The new animal protection law requires that the animals are knocked out before being cooked.

Activists say that lobsters and other invertebrates should therefore be killed humanely, either by putting them in a state of unconsciousness or killing them immediately. There are methods of killing them which are considered more humane - and which Swiss chefs might now adopt.

Time will tell whether other countries will follow Switzerland's example.

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