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Image by Claude Potts

What's The Problem?


Animal welfare laws do not apply to animals like crabs, lobsters & prawns (decapod crustaceans) in the UK, despite compelling evidence that they are sentient and can feel pain. This means they receive no legal protection from inhumane capture, handling, storage, transport or slaughter. Decapod crustaceans are routinely subjected to cruelty that would simply not be tolerated for other animals, for example:


  • Boiled alive whilst they’re fully conscious.

  • Live animals sold pre-packed in clingfilm; slowly suffocating whilst completely immobilised.

  • Sent in the post to consumers for home slaughter.

  • Limbs pulled off whilst they’re fully conscious

  • Home slaughter by inexperienced consumers - they can store and kill them however they wish.

Countries such as New Zealand (1) and Norway (2) have taken a common-sense approach to prevent such unnecessary suffering with humane methods that are relatively straightforward to implement.


There is a desire from food industry to follow best practice in this area. However, until decapod crustaceans are included under the definition of 'animal' in welfare legislation, the UK government is not obliged to draw up guidelines for their humane treatment. This means that even where businesses want to do the right thing, there is little guidance available for them. Our current campaign aims to change that!


Find out what is required for an animal to be considered able to feel pain, and how crabs, lobsters, prawns & crayfish meet these requirements.

Image by Jason Leung

Read about the different methods that are used to stun and slaughter crabs, lobsters, prawns & crayfish.


Click to learn about the mutilations that happen to animals like crabs, lobsters & prawns. These include eyestalk ablation and declawing. 

Crab in shallow water on a beach with both claws held up

Learn more about what we're doing to change the law and get decapods protected.

Two American lobsters with their claws bound laid on crushed ice

For more information on our position on key welfare issues, check out our animal welfare policies and position statements.

Small crab standing on grey sandy beach with one claw raised in the air

Take action now to get these vulnerable animals protected in UK animal welfare legislation.

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