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Policy on Slaughter of Decapods

Crustacean Compassion believes that decapod crustaceans should only be slaughtered/killed using methods that result in either instantaneous (within one second) death or instantaneous insensibility to pain and distress until death occurs.

(1) Boiling

Boiling should never be used to kill decapod crustaceans, unless animals are first rendered insensible to pain and distress through:  

a) effective stunning that can be guaranteed to persist during the boiling process until death occurs, or  

b) effective stunning followed by swift destruction of all nerve ganglia (see ‘Spiking and Splitting’) prior to boiling. 

(2) Dismemberment

Dismemberment of live conscious decapod crustaceans is completely unacceptable on welfare grounds and should never be undertaken. 

(3) Electrical Killing

Pending further evidence-based, consistent, independent information regarding the welfare implications of, and appropriate technical specifications for achieving electrical killing, Crustacean Compassion believes that electrical methods cannot be recommended for killing decapod crustaceans. 

(4) High Pressure Processing

Until further objective evidence is forthcoming, Crustacean Compassion believes HPP cannot be safely recommended as a humane killing method for decapod crustaceans, unless they are first effectively stunned and remain insensible until death occurs. 

(5) Spiking or Splitting

Spiking/splitting methods should only be applied by trained, competent practitioners, ideally immediately after the animals have first been effectively electrically stunned. 

(6) Freshwater 'drowning' (marine species)

Freshwater drowning of marine decapod crustaceans should not be undertaken due to the serious and prolonged suffering it causes.

(7) High Salt Solution

Available evidence indicates that use of high salt solutions as a killing method for decapod crustaceans is unacceptable, due both to the level and to the duration of suffering endured prior to insensibility/death.

(8) CO2 Gassing

Available evidence highlights the welfare concerns associated with exposure of decapod crustaceans to CO2 and supports the conclusion that its use as a stunning/ killing method for these species is unacceptable.

(9) Chilling - Wet/Ice

The evidence indicates that wet/ice chilling should not be used as a killing method for decapod crustaceans, being largely ineffective for temperate species, associated with serious risk to welfare for all species, and failing to deliver instantaneous insensibility or death to any species.

(10) Chilling - Dry/Air Chilling

In the light of the lack of evidence of efficacy, and the evidence of its negative and prolonged welfare impact, dry chilling should not be used as a killing method for decapod crustaceans.

More Info

Our full policy documents look into these topics in significant detail. For more information on how we came to form these positions, please email us, we're happy to provide further information upon enquiry:

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Two American lobsters with their claws bound are laid on crushed ice

Click here to return to our Animal Welfare Policies and Position Statements home page. 

Crab is being lifted out of a metal pot of boiling water using tongs

Read about the different methods that are used to stun and slaughter decapods.

Prawns piled into a section of an ice seafood display

Learn more about our position on the mutilation of decapods.

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