Animal Law Association lobster complaint upheld by parliamentary committee

Lobsters experience significant pain and distress when refrigerated and boiled alive, according to the Animal Law Association.

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Lobsters experience significant pain and distress when refrigerated and boiled alive, according to the Animal Law Association.

A complaint filed with a parliamentary committee about commercial lobster slaughter practices last year has been upheld.

Last week, Parliament’s Rules Review Committee released a report in line with the Position at the Animal Law Association that freezing lobsters before slaughter was not in line with the goals and intentions of the 1999 Animal Welfare Act, said association lawyer Rachel Stedman.

As a result, the National Advisory Committee on Animal Welfare (Nawac) was considering amending the law relating to freezing lobsters for commercial slaughter.

Stedman said the slaughter practices were based on outdated scientific knowledge. Lobsters experience significant pain and distress when refrigerated and boiled alive, according to a study presented in connection with a complaint about commercial slaughter practices. All the evidence has been gathered by the company.

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Lobsters that were frozen and then boiled will regain consciousness and feel pain during the boiling process, and evidence shows that they also remained conscious for longer due to freezing and had a complex nervous system, a. she declared.

Under the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulation, commercially caught crab, lobster, crayfish, or freshwater crayfish had to be rendered “unresponsive”, or unconscious, before being killed.

The rules were tightened in 2018 and clear guidance on signs of insensitivity were set out in the amendments.

Animal Law Association lawyer Rachel Stedman ✓ says lobster slaughter should be done by tabletop electric stunners.

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Animal Law Association lawyer Rachel Stedman ✓ says lobster slaughter should be done by tabletop electric stunners.

MPI had worked with industry to make sure people knew the lobsters were sensitive and needed to be stunned and killed according to regulations, an MPI spokeswoman previously said.

But the association had argued that regulators should drop a recommendation to refrigerate lobsters to 4 ° C or below, as recent science has shown that cooling, freezing and boiling lobsters causes them pain and distress. important and were therefore contrary to the Animal Welfare Act.

Instead, commercial slaughter would have to be performed by tabletop electric stunners that had been developed for use in catering, Stedman said.

Current recommendations also indicate that this is the preferred method.

In his testimony to the committee, Nawac agreed that freezing was an unacceptable method of rendering lobsters unresponsive and that she would change the law so that freezing was not allowed.

After examining the complaint, the committee ruled in favor of the association and supported the amendment planned by Nawac and the complete revision of the relevant law within three to five years.

The association was pleased with the committee’s findings and proud of the outcome of its complaint, Stedman said.

Once made, the amendment would benefit the welfare of the countless number of lobsters slaughtered for human consumption in New Zealand each year, she said.

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