With their peculiar appearance and mysterious lives, crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, prawns and crayfish are often thought to be insensible to pain or suffering. They are not covered by animal welfare legislation and therefore receive no protection from inhumane handling, storage or slaughter in the food industry. Boiling live lobsters is common practice.


But is our indifferent response to these animals morally justifiable or legally consistent?


Crustacean Compassion argues that it is not; and that based on scientific evidence which shows it is likely that crabs and lobsters feel pain, decapod crustaceans should now receive full protection under the UK’s animal welfare laws, just like they are protected in Norway, Switzerland, some Australian territories and New Zealand.

Our current campaign calls for crustaceans to be included in the Animal Welfare Act  2006 of England and Wales.

Lobster about to be boiled alive. It takes around 3 minutes to die and will likely feel the pain. Credit: Naotake Murayama, Flickr