Switzerland bans boiling live lobsters

Just as the title suggests, this Wednesday (Jan 10) Switzerland has banned the practice of boiling lobsters while they are alive, as well as transporting live lobsters on ice or ice water…etc. Quote: “Crustaceans must now be stunned before they are killed”


Hmmmmm. Not sure how I feel about this. Seems a little silly … being from New England we cook a lot of lobster.

What is New England’s practice now? I thought a friend of mine told me that she went to a market in Boston (I think) and the seller refused to sell the lobsters alive to her family. The seller needed to puncture the lobsters’ head (destroy the brains) before handing the dead lobsters to her family.

Never heard of that around here. You can get live lobsters all over the place. They are cooked (boiled or steamed) live most often. I don’t know of anywhere that cuts the head before cooking them - especially if being served whole. If a whole lobster came to the table with the head split open I’d be very confused and would likely send it back wondering when the damage happened.

I’ve always considered lobsters more like bugs than fish/seafood…having worked with them for many years. They are really kind of nasty creatures.

Not split open. The way she described to me is like driving a screwdriver in the lobster brain, but probably something a little narrower than a screwdriver. Maybe it is just a practice of that store… I will ask her.

A lot of people even call them bugs - e.g. " who’s getting the bugs for the party tonight"

They are pretty amazing animals but not the highest on the evolutionary scale.

One of our cooks did something similar, he speared the lobster in the neck with a big old knife and then carried him triumphantly to the steamer. Me, I put them in the boiling water head first, after the first couple of seconds it’s all over.

I’d be curious where this happened. I’ve never seen it done anywhere. The brain is pretty small so you’d have to be dead on (so to speak) to kill them quickly.

When I’ve had to kill a live lobster I’ve always split the head with a knife. It’s a little brutal and there is a lot of post muscle twitching. Not for the squeamish.

There are no relevent regulations in the UK as lobsters are not legally defined as “animals”. However, good practice is sugggested by the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) - http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-is-the-most-humane-way-to-kill-crustaceans-for-human-consumption_625.html

That is how we were taught to kill them - knife in the neck then the old boiling water


lobsters have necks?

Well, technically probably not a neck but beolw the back of the head in the spot that would be


“There are no relevent regulations in the UK as lobsters are not legally defined as “animals”. However, good practice is sugggested by the Australian”

Why would UK follow Australia? :smiley:

My friend just texted me and said it happened in Maine. Maybe just specific to the store? Not sure.

Thanks for checking. That is so strange.

Why would it not?

Um … what? Australia sets legal precident for England? I’m not all that familiar with British law and all but I’d be surprised by that. Seems like a reasonable question.

I’d be surprised at that as well. And not just for England but for the whole country.

But, of course, that’s not what’s happening. You’ll have seen that my link was to the website of an Australian animal welfare charity (the RSPCA), not a government body. Now I would imagine that the RSPCA in the UK would be likely to adopt work already done by its sister organisation and would use that to lobby government, should it decide to expand its animal welfare campaigning to include lobsters.

The question is, are there actual, live lobsters in Switzerland?

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