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Why the welfare of crustaceans matters too

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Tuesday, 30 January 2018

You may have seen the news that Switzerland recently passed laws that make the act of boiling a lobster alive illegal. New Zealand has similar laws requiring commercially caught crustaceans to be stunned (insensible to pain) before killing.

The RSPCA wants to see this legislative move in Australia and believes all crustaceans should always be humanely captured, handled, transported, retained and killed.

So what makes a creature a crustacean? Crustaceans include:

o   Crayfish

o   Lobsters

o   Crabs

o   Moreton Bay bugs

o   Yabbies

o   Prawns

Recent research shows crustaceans have responses consistent with signs of pain and distress. They also have the mental capacity to remember and learn to avoid unpleasant experiences.

The recognition of the welfare of crustaceans varies widely across Australia and can be confusing. Some states and territories recognise crustaceans’ legal status and protect their welfare by law, whereas in other jurisdictions this is dependent on whether the crustaceans are intended for human consumption.

If a crustacean is intended to be eaten by humans, the RSPCA believes live crustaceans should not be made available to the general public for purchase, and instead be humanely killed by those who are trained and competent to do so. Essentially, all crustaceans should have been humanely killed before being available for sale.

If you’re intending to consume any crustaceans, ensure you do not purchase live crustaceans and ask the retailer how the crustaceans were killed to ensure it was completed in the most humane manner.

Learn more about what a humane death for crustaceans means.

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