The lobster’s long path of suffering

The best chefs in the world serve them, in delicatessen shops, in markets, and in fish departments, they are the figureheads – and embody the “fruits of the seas” like no other animal.
Especially in time for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the advertising echoes: It’s lobster season!!

To ensure that their meat is as fresh as possible, lobsters, unlike most fish, which are killed immediately after being caught and then placed on ice for further processing, are offered for sale alive.

Doomed to motionlessness with tied scissors, the animals lie behind the glass panes of the small basins – often stacked on top of each other and without food – for weeks and months, that is nothing more than cruelty to animals.

But the suffering of the animals begins several months before and finally ends in an unimaginably cruel way.

The habitat of the European lobster ranges from Norway to the Mediterranean. Until that one day when man deprives them of their freedom and imposes their destiny as food, lobsters live solitary and sedentary. The animals prefer cooler waters with a rocky bottom, where they hide during the day and hunt at night.

They live in caves, crevices, and piles of stones, move around their home within a radius of up to five kilometers and a depth of 50 meters, and defend this against conspecifics. The highest in the lobster ranking has the right to the best hiding place and thus the best starting position for mating.

When the female is ready to mate, the male takes her into his hiding place and hands him the sperm packet, which the female keeps in his seminal vesicle over the winter. Fertilization does not take place until the following summer when the female lays up to 40,000 eggs and attaches them under her tail.

Depending on the water temperature, it then takes another ten to twelve months for the lobster larvae to hatch, swim freely in the water for 14 days and then begin their life on the ground.
In order to grow, lobsters molt regularly throughout their lives.

Another wonder of nature: If lobsters lose individual limbs, for example in a fight with enemies, they grow back within several molts.

Lobsters feed mainly on mussels, sea urchins, crabs, bristle worms, and carrion. Unlike many other animals, they do not have teeth in their mouths, but rather six pairs of mouthparts with which they can only tear the food into small pieces.

Their back color is also adapted to the ground on which they live and ranges from blue to green-blue to black-violet, while their sides and undersides are usually brown to orange-yellow with dark speckles.

Their characteristic claws not only help them to get food but are also effective defensive weapons that they can turn in all directions underwater.

In old animals, the claws can become so large that they make up more than half the body weight. In general, lobsters can reach a length of up to 75 centimeters, weigh six or more kilograms, and live up to 100 years.
If it weren’t for the human-animal with its barbaric appetite, which is only too happy to eat its flesh.

The main fishing season for European lobster is summer.
The lobster fishermen sink baskets and traps loaded with bait in the coastal waters and catch the animals.

Lobster baskets

Once in the basket, the animals are helplessly at the mercy of the fishermen, who now tie up their scissors and put them in boxes by the dozen until they are next in the tanks and seawater basins of the wholesalers, which have a capacity of up to 4,000 lobsters.
Just the lack of space and the lack of opportunities to retreat are pure agony for the loners.

But this is exactly how their lives will look from now on for the next few weeks and months.
Because in order to be able to provide the consumer with a consistently strong supply all year round, so-called retention begins now.

This means that from now on the animals, crammed together with innumerable conspecifics, with tied scissors and without food, will vegetate bleakly in various containers and feed on their reserves.

The only “change”: transports from one wholesaler to the next, to the market, to the retailers and restaurants.

Tied up and put on ice, the lobsters have to wait in the saucepan to die. (Foto: Pixabay, Sandra Tieks)

Broken legs, kinked scissors, and antennae are very common and extremely painful because they are equipped with sensory receptors and are sensitive to touch.

If the animals are also stored outside a saltwater pool for too long or if this does not contain enough oxygen, they suffer from acute shortness of breath – which can be recognized by the foam in front of their mouthparts.

Since the demand in Europe is so great that the stock of European lobsters is not sufficient, tons of American lobsters are also imported – also live, of course.

So they are sent to Europe in various ways and also stored in cold stores – sometimes for weeks without food.

The horror end

When the lobsters have survived the excruciating weeks and months, they will ultimately come to a cruel end. Because it is still customary to throw the animals alive into boiling water.

This means that the lobsters in the pots will now fight for their lives for up to several minutes. These are several minutes of agony and pain as they try to escape the boiling water and kick for their lives – until they can no longer and their bodies finally succumb to the great heat and they die.

This cruel practice must finally be banned! demands the German Animal Welfare Association
It is simply incomprehensible that Germany would allow sentient beings to be killed in this hideous way.

According to the current state of research, there is no method of stunning or killing crustaceans that is so gentle and reliable that it can be assumed to be safe, animal-friendly killing.

For this reason, the German Animal Welfare Association rejects the use of lobsters and other commercially used crustaceans as food.

And I mean…The practices in keeping the lobster can hardly be reconciled with our animal welfare.

The Animal Welfare Act requires in Section 2:

Whoever keeps, looks after, or has to look after an animal,
1. must feed and care for the animal appropriately and suitably accommodate its species and needs,
2. must not restrict the animal’s ability to move around in such a way that it causes pain or avoidable suffering or damage,
3. must have the knowledge and skills required for adequate nutrition, care, and behavior-appropriate accommodation of the animal.

The lobster experiences great torture just by tying his claws together.
The animals are no longer fed after they are caught so that their excrement does not pollute the water. This means that they usually have to survive without food for weeks until they finally end up in a saucepan.
This is a violation of Section 2 of our Animal Welfare Act.

It is actually legal to toss lobsters alive into boiling water.
Because for a long time it was believed that lobsters and other crustaceans could not feel pain.

Scientists, however, have proven several times that lobsters and other crustaceans do feel pain. They thrash around and try to escape as soon as they are cut up or thrown alive in the saucepan, and that is anything but painless.

And until a lobster is really dead, it usually has to endure several minutes in boiling water.

This is also a violation of Section 2 of our Animal Welfare Act.

In a civilized society, such practices have no place and must be banned.

It cannot be that today every consumer can simply buy a live lobster and even have it sent by post and sentient creatures are left in the hands of laypeople who are allowed to kill the animals themselves.

Otherwise, we can throw our animal welfare in the garbage can.

My best regards to all, Venus

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