Our role

The state and territory member Societies provide services to animals in need through their shelters and inspectorates. In the national office, RSPCA Australia works to influence animal welfare policy, practice and legislation across the country
Go to Our role

Key issues

The RSPCA advocates for the welfare of animals across a number of industries, issues and platforms. Help from our supporters is important to progress change. Working together is key.
Go to Key issues
take action live sheep export alternate
Priority issue
Australia is closer than it has ever…
Live sheep export

Support us

Whether you're an individual or a business, there are multiple ways you can support the RSPCA
Go to Support us
An animal in the RSPCA care being cared for by an RSPCA vet
Donate now to support your local RSPCA and make a difference to animal welfare across Australia
Donate

About

The RSPCA is an independent, community-based charity providing animal care and protection services across the country.
Go to About
about us national statistics
Read our National Statistics
Compiled on a national basis by RSPCA…
Annual statistics

Adopt

By choosing adoption, you’ll not only have the chance to make a friend for life, but you’ll be giving an animal a second chance and helping support the RSPCA.
Go to Adopt
adopt a pet logo
Visit the Adoptapet website
Make a difference to a pet’s life today.
Search Adoptapet
Blog

The one thing you need to know before you buy a lobster this Christmas

Generic Avatar
  • RSPCA Australia
  • Wednesday, 1 December 2021

December is one of the most popular times of the year to buy lobsters, crabs and other crustaceans. For those who choose to do so, the RSPCA has one very important reminder: don’t buy them alive. Buy them frozen or fresh, but already dead, and make sure they’ve been killed humanely.

 

Why is this so important?

Crustaceans have multiple nerve centres running through their bodies. Research has shown that killing without first stunning the animal and then quickly destroying the nerve centres means they will suffer.

In the UK, a new animal welfare bill now includes lobsters, crabs and octopuses. This came after an independent review found scientific evidence that decapod crustaceans (lobsters, crabs etc) and cephalopod molluscs (octopuses, squid etc) are capable of feeling and therefore should be considered sentient beings. In Australia, whether these animals are protected under State and Territory animal welfare legalisation depends on how that state or territory defines an ‘animal’.

The RSPCA accepts the strong evidence that indicates that crustaceans are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. This means that just like other animals that are slaughtered for food, stunning and killing crustaceans must be done by skilled people using specialised equipment and never done at home or in a restaurant.

 

How should it be done

Stunning of crustaceans must be reflective of the species, eg whether they are salt or freshwater animals. Getting this wrong means the animal will go into severe shock and die a painful death.

And most crucially, live crustaceans must NEVER be placed in the microwave or into hot or boiling water.

For those working in the seafood industry, including chefs and seafood sellers, the RSPCA has this detailed guide about the most humane way to kill crustaceans for human consumption.

 

What you can do

  1. Never buy your lobsters, crabs, crayfish, Morton Bay bugs and yabbies alive.

  2. Make sure your seafood retailer is killing their crustaceans humanely. Ask about their methods and let them know about the guide.

  3. Remember, as a customer, your voice has a lot of influence. You can make a positive difference to how animals are treated with the choices you make and by asking the question and expressing your views to brands and retailers. They are listening, so now has never been a better time to make a point to support better animal welfare.

 

subscribe box

Stay informed on big issues and how you can help improve animal welfare across Australia.

Subscribe today and we’ll keep you updated on all the latest campaigns, events and news.