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Falling behind. . . Time for the UK to Catch Up on Animal Welfare

There has been news recently about animals like crabs, lobsters and prawns (decapod crustaceans) receiving protection in other places around the world. So what changes in law have taken place... and why is the UK behind?

Years ago in Switzerland It was just over 3 years ago in 2018 that Switzerland banned the boiling of lobsters alive. This decision was made based on evidence that these animals are sentient, and therefore capable of experiencing pain and suffering.

Month ago in New Zealand Then came another step ahead from New Zealand, a country that already has laws protecting decapods. A month ago, a complaint was filed by the Animal Law Association to the parliamentary committee over the treatment of crabs and lobsters in the food industry. The complaint was upheld and has led to a ban on freezing and chilling these animals as there is no evidence that this is beneficial to their welfare.

Week ago in Amsterdam Following this, a week ago in Amsterdam, a ban on the sale of live crabs and lobsters at markets was announced. This is an important development as welfare cannot be maintained during home slaughter because most amateur cooks do not have the training or the equipment to provide an effective stun and instantaneous death. It is more feasible to improve welfare standards through commercial practice than in individual homes.

Next week in the UK? And finally, in the next two weeks, there could be progress here in the UK. The government’s report investigating how decapod crustaceans experience pain is due to be released. This is an important step in getting these animals recognised as sentient, and thus in need of protection. The release of this report could lead to the inclusion of these animals in the Sentience Bill, which would protect millions of animals a year, and change animal welfare history...


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