Chefs in Switzerland ordered to stun lobsters before boiling them

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Chefs in Switzerland ordered to stun lobsters before boiling them

Lobsters may not really scream when you boil them - they don't possess vocal cords - but research shows they can feel pain, and Switzerland's government chose to do something about the common culinary practice of boiling lobsters alive.

From March 2018, lobsters being prepared in Switzerland will need to be knocked out before they're put to death, or killed instantly.

"The practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water, which is common in restaurants, is no longer permitted", the government order stated. Aquatic species must always be kept in their natural environment.

There's a more humane way to cook lobster - and in Switzerland, it's now the law.

The new edict comes in the wake of a recent Italian law that decreed lobsters can't be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens.

But Robert Elwood said that this is probably a false assumption. Research from Queen's University Belfast seems to back them up - a 2013 study on crabs discovered they're likely to feel pain. "We give protection to birds and mammals, now we give very little protection to decapod crustaceans - lobsters and crabs", Elwood said.

The newly-implemented lobster law also offers strict guidelines on the transportation and storage of crustaceans.

But for Elwood, this is only the first step in addressing this issue.

This traditional way of cooking lobsters is out, with the government now saying people have to stun the creatures first or properly kill them by the method of a knife to the brain through the back of their heads - or the part of their weird body that most resembles a head - before they're cooked.

Along with the new cooking methods, the Swiss law also outlines new guidelines on transporting the animals from the oceans to stove and ultimately, your dinner table.

Elwood hopes to discourage the practice of not only boiling but also dismembering while the animal is alive.

Time will tell whether other countries will follow Switzerland's example.

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