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Close up of an American lobster underwater foraging for food on rocky bottom

Crustacean Compassion

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Campaigning for the humane treatment of crabs, lobsters and other decapod crustaceans in the UK

Despite overwhelming evidence that animals like crabs, lobsters, prawns & crayfish (decapod crustaceans) are capable of experiencing pain, every year millions of these animals are boiled alive, cut up alive, mailed live in the post... the list goes on. Find out who we are and why we’re working to get these sentient animals protected.

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It’s been two years since decapods like lobsters and crabs were recognised under law as sentient, but they still have very little protection in place to stop inhumane suffering.  

One law that offers protection The Welfare at Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 (known as WATOK) says an animal may not be killed in a way which causes avoidable pain, distress or suffering and anyone killing an animal must have the knowledge and skills necessary to do so humanly and efficiently.  

When we did a Freedom of Information request to the 32 London boroughs, not only did only 25 reply, we found many did not recognise that they had enforcement responsibility and one council, Kensington and Chelsea, claimed decapods are not covered under WATOK. This just isn’t true.  The only council up to date with this law, Hammersmith and Fulham, has eight staff members working in the Food Safety Team, recognised that their Animal Welfare Charter “is in need of review going forwards”.  

It is highly unlikely that the average consumer buying a live crab or lobster from one of the London food markets or shops is able to kill them at home in a way that causes no unnecessary suffering, especially when it can take between 4 to 8 minutes for a lobster to die when being boiled alive. This suffering has to stop.  

If you live in London, can you write to the Leader of your council here. Asking them to admit they can’t enforce WATOK for decapods and to support our call for a Ban of Live Decapods to the Public.   

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Latest News

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Crustacean Compassion began as a voluntary organisation after hearing the disturbing news that live crabs were being sold in shrink wrap plastic in a shop in London. 

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Urging supermarkets to commit to a permanent ban on the live sale of lobsters and crabs as part of minimal welfare commitments in the wake of its recent Snapshot report

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Find out more about Crustacean Compassion's work, campaigns, and our partners.

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