Swiss insist on stunning lobsters before cooking

Cooks in Switzerland will not be allowed to boil lobsters alive without stunning them first

Cooks in Switzerland will not be allowed to boil lobsters alive without stunning them first

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. "Crustaceans must now be stunned before killing them", said the rules adopted by the government on Wednesday that will take effect in March.

Lobsters in Switzerland now have to be stunned before chefs plunge them into hot water to cook them.

Lobsters may not actually scream when they're placed live into pots of boiling water (they don't have vocal cords), but the jury's still out on whether they feel pain. Since then, researchers have called upon the food industry to reconsider the treatment of crabs and other live crustaceans like prawns and lobsters.

The new laws have raised the hackles of restaurant owners who say they will have to retrofit their kitchens to accommodate the new practice, Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports. Swiss public broadcaster RTS said the accepted stunning methods are electric shock or mechanical destruction of the creature's brain.

The government also outlawed the practice of transporting crustaceans on ice or in ice water, ruling they should be kept in their natural environment instead. Animal behavior researcher Robert Elwood doesn't agree.

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