Boiling Lobsters Alive To Be Banned In New Animal Welfare Bill
There are plans to make boiling live lobsters illegal as part of the government’s new Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
The new legislation would recognise that lobsters, crabs and octopuses can feel pain. As it stands, the bill only recognises that vertebrates are sentient beings.
The UK would join Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand in banning the boiling of lobsters alive.
The legislation has been making its way through parliament as a result of animal welfare campaigners calling for the bill to include invertebrates.
One group that’s been campaigning on behalf of the move is The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which is backed by Boris Johnson‘s wife, Carrie Johnson.
Many have argued that stunning lobsters with an electric device or freezing them in cold air before boiling is a more humane method of death, Metro reports. Others have said that sedating lobsters with things such as marijuana could reduce their pain, but scientists have since dismissed this idea and said it has little effect.
In light of these suggestions, the government is reportedly talking to people in the catering and restaurant industries for their advice on alternative methods of killing the invertebrate.
It’s believed this amendment is going to be brought forward to the House of Lords, and ministers are looking at backing it, Mail Online reports.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said:
We’re proud to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we are fully committed to strengthening them further to ensure all animals avoid any unnecessary pain, distress or suffering.
‘We have commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence and will carefully consider the results of this review,’ they added.
People have since applauded the government’s decision to back the new legislation, including Maisie Tomlinson, co-director of Crustacean Compassion.
She said in a statement, ‘It is wonderful to hear that the government is planning to support the inclusion of decapods and cephalopods in the sentience bill. There is more than enough evidence for the ability of these sensitive, captivating creatures to feel pain and suffer. They undergo appalling treatment in the food industry.’
Other changes to the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill are said to include making it compulsory for cats to be microchipped, banning the exports of live animals for slaughter, banning training collars that electrocute dogs, and wrapping live shellfish in shrink wrap and posting them.
If you see an animal in distress and/or in need of help, contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour animal cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or visit their website for further advice.