- Boiling lobsters has been outlawed in Switzerland.
- Some scientists argue that lobsters can actually feel pain, but the scientific community is divided on this.
- The new animal protection law requires that the animals are knocked out before being cooked.
The common cooking practice of boiling live lobsters in water was just outlawed by the Swiss government after animal rights activists and some scientists argued that lobsters’ central nervous systems are complex enough that they can actually feel pain.
The new Swiss law says that lobsters “will now have to be stunned before they are put to death.” The Swiss government order also said that lobsters are no longer permitted to be transported in icy water, and should instead always be handled “in their natural environment.” This new practice will go into effect March 1, according to The Guardian.
Stunning a lobster before killing it is an effective way to make sure the animal does not feel any pain, Robert Elwood, a Queen’s University Belfast professor told Newsweek.
“If stunned electrically or if the brain is destroyed mechanically, they are effectively dead. They would not recover consciousness if left in an attempt to do so.”
Italy recently passed a similar law saying that restaurants are not allowed to keep live lobsters on ice before boiling them.
Some scientists argue that lobsters can feel pain, but the scientific community is divided on this.
The scientific community can’t actually agree on whether or not lobsters feel pain. The Lobster Institute in Maine 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.
But Robert Elwood said that this is probably a false assumption. He has performed experiments on crabs by offering them a choice of two shelters: one that consistently emits shocks, and another that does not. The crabs always left the shelter with the shocks.
He argued that the experiment results are “entirely consistent with the idea of pain.”
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