Debate caught on cooking live lobsters: 'It doesn't fit in a civilized country'

Debate caught on cooking live lobsters: ‘It doesn’t fit in a civilized country’

Fresh lobsters are one of the most popular dishes at Wow Crab In Rotterdam. Live lobsters are thrown into boiling water several times a night. They don’t think this is pathetic. “We do this because it’s the best way to make lobsters as fresh as possible,” says an employee at the seafood restaurant. “We’re a Chinese restaurant and that’s been a tradition in China for years.”

Why is cooking the best way to kill an animal? “The rotting process starts quickly in lobsters, so this is the best way to prepare.”


In Britain, cooking lobsters and lobsters alive will soon become a thing of the past. The British government has decided to allow lobsters, squid, octopus and crabs to be included in the animal welfare bill. So a ban on live cooking seems inevitable, British media report. Switzerland and New Zealand already have such a ban.

There is also a debate in our country about whether such a ban should be imposed. The Animal Party has been fighting for this for years. In 2013, the party submitted a first proposal that failed in the House of Representatives. In 2018, the party made another attempt. The proposal did not win a majority at the time.

“last guide”

“We will call attention to this again next week during the budget debate,” says MP Frank Wasenberg. “We are a civilized country. You don’t cook animals alive. Previous studies have also shown that lobsters are in pain, which is further evidence.”

PVV, GroenLinks, SP, and PvdA endorsed the movement. When asked, D66 and ChristenUnie said they had not yet decided whether or not to support a motion: if they did, there would be a majority in favor.

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Looking for an alternative

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality also does not stand idly by. A spokeswoman for the minister, Carola Schutten, said the department would look into the British investigations. “It’s good that more research is being done here,” the spokesperson says.

The question, then, is: Which method is acceptable? The Ministry would like to receive more information. Alternatives, for example, electrocution or electrocution to kill animals.

Zoologist and expert Gert Flick also advocates for a ban and a more humane alternative. “Lobsters are invertebrates, which is why they are often thought to be pain-free. The nervous system of invertebrates works very differently than vertebrates.”


So they suffer differently from humans or mammals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get hurt to have. “We know that they have antennas on their heads that allow them to sense and experience noxious stimuli,” says Flick.

In our country there are strict rules for killing vertebrates such as cows or pigs. Roughly speaking, animals should die as quickly as possible, be unconscious and die within a few seconds. “But lobsters can live a minute or so longer in boiling water and then face those nasty stimuli. I would say: If you can prevent the bad stuff, why not do it?”

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