What's The Problem?
Animal welfare laws do not apply to decapod crustaceans in the UK, despite compelling evidence that they are sentient and can feel pain. This means they receive no legal protection from inhumane capture, handling, storage, transport or slaughter. Decapod crustaceans are routinely subjected to cruelty that would simply not be tolerated for other animals, for example:
Boiled alive whilst they’re fully conscious.
Live animals sold pre-packed in clingfilm; slowly suffocating whilst completely immobilised.
Sent in the post to consumers for home slaughter.
Limbs pulled off whilst they’re fully conscious
Home slaughter by inexperienced consumers - they can store and kill them however they wish.
Countries such as New Zealand and Norway have taken a common-sense approach to prevent such unnecessary suffering with humane methods that are relatively straightforward to implement.
There is a desire from food industry to follow best practice in this area. However, until decapod crustaceans are included under the definition of 'animal' in welfare legislation, the UK government is not obliged to draw up guidelines for their humane treatment. This means that even where businesses want to do the right thing, there is little guidance available for them. Our current campaign aims to change that!
1. Animal Welfare Act (1999), http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0142/latest/DLM49664.html, pdf, accessed 29-4-16
2. Norwegian Animal Welfare Act (2011) https://www.animallaw.info/statute/noway-cruelty-norwegian-animal-welfare-act-2010#s2, pdf, accessed 29-4-16
3. Animal Welfare Ordinance (2008) www.blv.admin.ch/themen/tierschutz/index.html?lang=en, pdf, accessed 29-4-16