Swiss cooks ordered to stun lobsters before boiling them


The Swiss government ordered a ban on the boiling of live lobsters as part of efforts to reform its animal welfare laws.

Animal rights advocates and some scientists argue that lobsters and other crustaceans have sophisticated nervous systems and likely feel significant pain when boiled alive. The country has revamped its laws to further protect animals including large marine crustaceans.

People in Switzerland who fancy a bit of lobster for their tea will now have to find a better way of killing and cooking the things, as the government has passed a law that bans the throwing of the creatures into pans of boiling water while they're still alive. "Lobsters will now have to be stunned before they are put to death".

"If stunned electrically or if the brain is destroyed mechanically, they are effectively dead".

The ruling follows, which prevents lobsters from being stored on ice in restaurant kitchens.

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"Assessing pain is hard, even with humans", Elwood said, according to the journal Nature's news blog.

The landmark legislation come amid growing scientific evidence that invertebrates such as lobsters, crabs and crayfish are capable of feeling pain. The Lobster Institute in ME argues that the lobster's central nervous system is primitive and insect-like, so they can react to stimuli but don't actually have the brain power to process pain. Elwood has studied crustaceans for decades and has explored whether the animals do in fact feel pain-a belief that's often debated.

He gave the crabs two different options for shelter: one that caused repeated shocks and another which didn't. The crabs always left the shelter with the shocks. These experiments show that "rapid avoidance learning, and [crustaceans] giving up highly valuable resources to avoid certain noxious stimuli" are consistent with pain.

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The Swiss laws also addresses a number of other animal rights issues, including puppy farms and devices that punish dogs for barking, according to Reuters.