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‘Boiling Lobsters Alive Should Be Banned,’ Says British Veterinary Association

The practice of boiling lobsters alive has been deemed ‘barbaric’ by the association.


Another wave of protests against boiling lobsters alive has surfaced. This time, from vets.

Across the UK, many restaurants prepare lobster meat for their menus by boiling the animals alive.

The British Veterinary Association have joined forces with animal rights campaigners in an effort to ban this cruel treatment. Instead, they propose mandatory stunning of lobsters before killing and cooking them.


The BVA have called the current treatment of lobsters “barbaric.”

Bans like the ones the campaigners are hoping for are already in place in many countries. In Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand and Austria boiling lobsters alive is illegal.

Opinions On Boiling Lobsters Alive

In part, these changes across the globe have been influenced by research that shows shellfish are sentient. However, whether or not lobsters can feel pain is still debated.


Locatelli, a celebrity chef, gave his opinion on the treatment of lobsters to the Mail Online.

“In my opinion, not only is it more humane it also improves the quality of the meat. Many years ago my wife saw a chef put a live lobster in a pot in our kitchen and nearly divorced me. Since then we have used a stunning machine.”

And his restaurant, Locand Locatelli is Michelin starred! That bodes well for the success of not boiling lobsters.

Campaigner director of Crustacean Compassion Maisie Tomlinson calls the treatment of lobsters “cruel and unacceptable.” This derives from the knowledge that, if lobsters aren’t stunned, it can take “up to three minutes for a crab to die in boiling water, and even longer for a lobster.”

When put like that, it sounds pretty horrible.

What Has Caused These Changes?

A petition was brought to parliament in mid-2019 as a response to research conducted by Professor Robert Elwood at Queen’s University Belfast. Elwood found that crustaceans will avoid certain spots where they have been given electric shocks in the past. Therefore, there is grounds to believe lobsters do feel pain, making boiling them alive wholly cruel.

The petition was rejected by the government, who still uphold the legality of boiling lobsters, despite protests. Maybe this new wave of calls for a ban will change that law.

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