Swiss government rules for lobsters to be 'stunned' before being boiled

Swiss insist on stunning lobsters before cooking

Switzerland Considers the Feelings of the Lobster

Lobsters may not really scream when you boil them - they don't possess vocal cords - but research shows they can feel pain, and Switzerland's government chose to do something about the common culinary practice of boiling lobsters alive. Nearly all recipes instruct to plunge still-living lobsters head-first into boiling water before continuing with dressings or such.

But crustaceans have decentralized nervous systems, meaning it takes more than one blow to the head to stun them, unlike fish.

The government is also outlawing the practice of transporting live crustaceans like lobsters in icy water or on ice, saying they must "always be held in their natural environment".

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. Thankfully, there are new devices that can stun a lobster in a fast and humane way, with the voltage also killing the bacteria.

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

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"With the data we know, it is highly likely that the animal will be in pain", of Queens University, Belfast. This indicates that crustaceans manifest rapid avoidance learning to keep away from certain stimuli such as pain.

A growing body of scientific evidence states that lobsters and other crustaceans like crabs or crayfish can actually feel pain, the BBC reports.

While there is no absolute proof that lobsters can feel pain, constant experiments ran by scientists indicate an idea of pain in lobsters and similar animals. Animal behavior researcher Robert Elwood doesn't agree.

Crustaceans may endure stress due to low oxygen levels and overcrowding in tanks when kept in confinement.

The professor also noted that while other animals have received protection from governments, the same can't be said for many sea creatures.

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