Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Swiss Can't Stick Live Lobsters in Boiling Water Anymore

Swiss Can't Stick Live Lobsters in Boiling Water Anymore

Switzerland is not the only European country striving to protect lobsters from what activists call cruel treatment in the kitchen.

Geneva: The Swiss government is to ban the common practice in restaurants of boiling live lobsters as part of an overall animal protection reform, Swiss media reported on Thursday. "Crustaceans must now be stunned before killing them", the new rules say, Reuters reports. Once the crustaceans are stunned, they can then be boiled pain-free. Research from Queen's University Belfast seems to back them up - a 2013 study on crabs discovered they're likely to feel pain. But there's "clear-long-term motivational change [in these experiments] that's entirely consistent with the idea of pain". But not so fast: Switzerland's new ruling also forbids putting live marine animals on ice or in icy water, saying they must "always be held in their natural environment".

The Swiss government has not made solving this quandary easy.

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Neighbouring Italy's highest court ruled in June that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurants - because it causes them unnecessary and unjustifiable suffering before they head for the dining rooms of upmarket restaurants.

"While the particular method of cooking can be considered legal by recognizing that it is commonly used, the suffering caused by detaining the animals while they wait to be cooked cannot be justified in that way", the judges wrote.

The government also banned automatic anti-barking collars for dogs and introduced new regulations to tackle illegal puppy farms and ensure organizers take responsibility for animals at their public events.

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