Has society gone to pot over shellfish?

If a shop or restaurant was proudly displaying in its window a lamb or a hen that was shivering, bound and gagged, to lure you in to watch it being executed in pain they would be rightly reported to the RSPCA and there would be public outcry.

Yet lobsters are treated in exactly this way and Metro Mayor Dan Norris says enough is enough. The Mayor has welcomed a government report on decapod crustacean sentience published on 19 November. It calls for a ban on lobsters being boiled or dismembered alive without first being stunned with a specialist instrument.

The Metro Mayor says: “Despite being a nation of animal lovers, when it comes to lobster cruelty we are far behind other countries”

In nations including Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand lobsters have rights and boiling them alive is forbidden. Italy’s highest court has ruled that lobsters should not be kept on ice while awaiting their turn on someone’s dinner plate but need to be in oxygenated water tanks at lobster friendly temperatures.

Mr Norris who has met with animal welfare charity Crustacean Compassion believes that a Code of Practice should be urgently agreed by experts on the storing of lobsters, which takes into account their welfare needs. They should be allowed enough space, protection from pain and suffering, and opportunities for natural behaviour.

Scientists believe that a lobster can be killed as painlessly as possible by passing an electric current through its body for 15 seconds

Mr Norris said: “Each time I see lobsters suffering in restaurant windows in our region I am sickened. There is a moral necessity to stop the appalling treatment that many millions of these animals are subjected to each year in the UK. We need to do everything we can to reduce the pain and suffering of these defenceless creatures. It seems we are finally moving in the right direction but we can get ahead of the game. Let’s make the West of England a lobster cruelty free zone. I have asked civil servants to look at the possibility of a business adaptation cruelty free grant scheme to sort this out.”

Some lobsters are flown in from places like North America in terrible cramped conditions. You can also log on to sites like Amazon and buy lobsters to eat which are delivered alive through the post.

Mr Norris continued: “In my manifesto I called for high animal welfare standards and I will battle tirelessly to remove animal cruelty in the food sector in the West of England. I want our region to be a beacon of how to minimise animal suffering in the UK and lead others to do the same.”

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