Ministers could ban lobsters from being boiled alive as part of Carrie Johnson-backed ‘animal sentience’ drive
- Ministers planning to extend new animal sentience laws to include crustaceans
- The new legislation will mean that boiling lobsters alive is going to be banned
- Government’s sentience laws were originally only going to apply to vertebrates
Ministers are planning to ban boiling lobsters alive as they look to extend new animal sentience laws to include crustaceans.
The Government’s new Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament and will recognise animals as sentient beings, currently only covers vertebrates.
But the legislation will reportedly be extended to also cover invertebrates, formally recognising that lobsters, crabs and octopuses feel pain.
The planned change comes after animal welfare campaigners, including an organisation backed by Carrie Johnson, Boris Johnson’s wife, called for the laws to be broadened.
Boiling lobsters alive is already illegal in some countries like Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand
Boiling lobsters alive is already illegal in some countries like Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.
Ministers are now looking at backing an amendment being brought forward in the House of Lords which would add sentient protection for invertebrates, according to The Times.
The Government is talking to the catering and restaurant industries about other alternative methods of killing lobsters, including stunning with electricity and chilling with ice.
Ministers launched an independent review last year on whether decapods and cephalopods should be recognised as sentient. It is yet to publish its findings.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which counts Mrs Johnson as one of its patrons, had urged ministers to include the animals in the legislation.
It said in a recent report: ‘There is sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that both cephalopods and crustaceans are sentient.’
Maisie Tomlinson, co-director of Crustacean Compassion, said: ‘It is wonderful to hear that the government is planning to support the inclusion of decapods and cephalopods in the sentience bill.
Animal welfare campaigners, including an organisation backed by Carrie Johnson, Boris Johnson’s wife, had called for the sentience laws to be broadened
‘There is more than enough evidence for the ability of these sensitive, captivating creatures to feel pain and suffer.’
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘We’re proud to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we are fully committed to strengthening them further to ensure all animals avoid any unnecessary pain, distress or suffering.
‘We have commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence and will carefully consider the results of this review.’