Swiss insist on stunning lobsters before cooking

Swiss insist on stunning lobsters before cooking

"We give protection to birds and mammals, now we give very little protection to decapod crustaceans - lobsters and crabs - and the question comes, why is there this difference?"

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. Nearly all recipes instruct to plunge still-living lobsters head-first into boiling water before continuing with dressings or such.

"The practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water, which is common in restaurants, is no longer permitted", the government order stated. It will be also illegal to transport lobsters in ice or icy water as the revamped laws rule that all aquatic species must always be in their natural environment. The government said the crustaceans must be "stunned" before being boiled.

The new law also bans the use of automatic devices that punish dogs for barking.

"Crabs and lobsters deserve protection from being cooked alive", says Dr. John Birch, an assistant Philosophy professor at the London School of Economics.

The scientific community can't actually agree on whether or not lobsters feel pain.

At Queen's University in Belfast, scientists found that crabs gave up important hiding place after repeatedly being given electric shocks in that particular location. This indicates that crustaceans manifest rapid avoidance learning to keep away from certain stimuli such as pain.

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The move is a response to studies that suggest lobsters are sentient with advanced nervous systems that may feel pain.

Some scientists argue that lobsters can feel pain, but the scientific community is divided on this.

The group that is known for its active campaign to stop cruelty against animals also took a swipe at the US government for not enacting laws to protect crustaceans.

The new edict comes in the wake of a recent Italian law that decreed lobsters can't be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens.

But Robert Elwood said that this is probably a false assumption.

Time will tell whether other countries will follow Switzerland's example.

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