Press Release: 12 October 2022
PRESS RELEASE: Larry Loves Lobsters: the Downing Street cat comes out to support protection of decapod crustaceans
Animal protection campaigners have visited Downing Street today to deliver a letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss calling for greater protection for decapod crustaceans like crabs, prawns, lobsters, and nephrops. They were joined by Larry the cat who appears to support the cause!
Decapod crustaceans were classified as sentient animals in the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act when it passed through Parliament earlier this year. Despite this recognition, without amendments to existing legislation these animals can still be sent alive in the post, boiled alive and used in scientific experiments without any oversight.
Under Boris Johnson the government was committed to reviewing existing animal welfare legislation following the passage of the Sentience Act. The position of the new government has not yet been stated publicly.
Extending the scope of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to include decapod crustaceans would place a duty of care on those responsible for these animals to prevent unnecessary suffering. Including them within the scope of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 would further mean that any scientific experiments could only be carried out by a licenced researcher and tests would have to be signed off by the Home Office.
Crustacean Compassion has been engaging with MPs from all parties as well as civil servants in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Home Office, to ensure the welfare of decapod crustaceans remain on the political agenda.
Dr Ben Sturgeon, Crustacean Compassion Chief Executive, said: “The recognition of decapod crustaceans like crabs, prawns and lobsters as sentient animals is an important step, but without affording them the same legal protections as other animals it is a largely symbolic move. The government needs to act quickly to correct these anomalies and protect these animals from continued suffering.”
Notes to Editors
Crustacean Compassion is an award-winning animal welfare organisation dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans. We engage with legislators and policy makers to strengthen and enforce animal welfare law and policy; we work to persuade and enable companies to sell higher welfare products across their shellfish product ranges; and we seek to educate both the public and policy makers on the science of decapod crustacean sentience and on their humane treatment and care.
Our work is grounded in scientific evidence. We do not campaign against the use of decapod crustaceans as food. We welcome good practice in the food industry and believe that all sentient creatures deserve humane treatment, determined by the needs of their species.
Both the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 can be amended by secondary legislation with no need for debates or votes in Parliament.
For an accessible overview of the issues, please see our report
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Crustacean Compassion Chief Executive Dr Ben Sturgeon handing in our letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss at No.10 Downing Street today.
Larry the Downing Street cat reading a Crustacean Compassion placard.
Crustacean Compassion preparing to hand in their letter to the Prime Minister Liz Truss at No.10 Downing Street today.