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April 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Respect That Lobster

from the April, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

When it comes to cooking fresh lobster, the Swiss are now saying: We feel your pain. A law took effect March 1 that bans cooking a live lobster by tossing it into a pot of boiling water. The Swiss say it's cruel and lobsters can sense pain. Instead, the law says before cooking, render them unconscious -- either by electrocution or sedating the lobster by dipping it into saltwater and then thrusting a knife into its brain are the recommended techniques.

The lobster legislation that boils down to a pain-free death is research- driven, including a study by Queen's University in Belfast (UK), that found crustaceans are sentient creatures. "These studies show that lobsters, like other animals, experience pain, and distress," said Stefan Kunfermann, a Swiss government spokesman.

The law also stipulates that lobsters must be transported to their final Swiss destination in their natural environment -- seawater -- rather than on ice.

State officials will be responsible for enforcement, and Kunfermann said offenders could land in hot water, with sentences of up to three years in prison.

"Globally, Switzerland is in the forefront of animal welfare legislation," said Antoine Goetschel, founder of the Global Animal Law Association.

(From a report in USA Today)

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