Improvement of animal rights laws has prompted the Swiss government to ban the boiling of live lobsters, a common culinary practice in restaurants. The country has revamped its laws to further protect animals including large marine crustaceans. Nearly all recipes instruct to plunge still-living lobsters head-first into boiling water before continuing with dressings or such.
"The practice of plunging live lobsters into boiling water, which is common in restaurants, is no longer permitted", the government order stated.
According to Jonathan Birch, assistant professor in philosophy at the London School of Economics, animal welfare scientists define pain as "an aversive sensation and feeling associated with actual or potential tissue damage".
This traditional way of cooking lobsters is out, with the government now saying people have to stun the creatures first or properly kill them by the method of a knife to the brain through the back of their heads - or the part of their weird body that most resembles a head - before they're cooked. Following a similar law put in place earlier by the Italian government, the Swiss government is no longer allowing for lobsters to be transported on ice. The new law comes after an abundance of evidence has shown that lobsters, crabs, prawns and other invertebrates feel pain. Illegal puppy farms in Switzerland will also be apprehended.
"Assessing pain is hard, even with humans", Elwood said, according to the journal Nature's news blog.
"If stunned electrically or if the brain is destroyed mechanically they are effectively dead", Robert Elwood, an ecology professor at Queen's University Belfast, told Newsweek via email. This indicate that crustaceans manifest rapid avoidance learning to keep away from certain stimuli such as pain.
The move is a response to studies that suggest lobsters are sentient with advanced nervous systems that may feel pain. Robert Elwood, who led the team carrying out the experiments, said, "They were willing to give up their hideaway in order to avoid the source of their probable pain".