Letter: Lobsters can feel pain
The Swiss government has banned the common practice of plunging fully conscious lobsters into pots of boiling water, ruling that the crustaceans must be stunned first.
Last June, Italy’s highest court ruled that restaurant kitchens must not keep live lobsters on ice because it causes the animals to suffer unjustifiably.
Lawmakers are beginning to recognize what science is showing us (and what common sense has told us all along): Lobsters and other crustaceans are not unfeeling automatons. Recent research has shown that crabs are capable of learning and remembering information, just like other animals. If left alone, lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. They use complicated signals to establish social relationships and can recognize individuals.
From observations of shore crabs who changed their behavior to avoid electric shocks and hermit crabs who rubbed at their own injuries, science has confirmed that these animals also feel pain. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that crustaceans are capable of experiencing pain and distress and recommended that steps be taken to lessen their suffering when possible.
We live in a changing world, one in which animals are afforded considerations that they might have been denied in the past. Like us, lobsters and crabs value their lives and do not want to die. And the only way to make sure that we’re not contributing to their suffering is to stop eating them.
— Paula Moore
Paula Moore is a senior writer for PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.