The government of Switzerland has passed a breaking law to ban the common practice of the people – dropping living lobsters and other aquatic animals directly into boiling water. As of the law implemented on 1st March, 2018, living lobsters and other aquatic animals have to be made senseless either by electric shock or by mechanical destruction of the brain before dropping them into boiling water for cooking. The law also banned transporting or stocking living aquatic animals in ice or ice water, because the practice was ‘inhumane’ – a lot of evidences were there that these animals feel pain and suffer from unnatural environment.
The tendency and habit of business for lobsters and other aquatic animals had been under scrutiny due to a large amount of evidences were observed. The aquatic animals feel pain and sufferings from unnatural atmosphere. Italy’s highest court banned keeping lobsters on ice before killing them in June 2017 – with a logic that the animals used to feel ‘unjustifiable suffering’. But, the government of Italy did not ban the practice of putting lobsters and other aquatic animals into boiling water alive. The Italian government ruled that the practice of putting them into boiling water alive was a ‘common’ habit.
In this aspect, the government of Switzerland has taken a bold and correct stand for the sake of preventing ‘animal cruelty’. A spokesperson on behalf of the government of Switzerland told the ‘Washington Post’ that the new law has been implemented on the basis of ‘the animal rights argument’. They primarily put forth a motion to ban lobsters imports all over the country. But, the federal government’s opinion was different. They thought that the law was not applicable due to ‘international trading laws’. So, the government of Switzerland decided to amend the existing law focussing to improve ‘the animal protection aspect’.
Both in US and Australia, protection to lobsters and other aquatic animals is negligible according to the law as they are considered as ‘food’. No cruelty charges are brought in cases involving those animals even if they are treated terribly.
Biological anthropologist Barbara King commented that there was a long history to underestimate animal pain – she emphasized that even the lobsters also could feel pain. She also told that it was our ‘ethical responsibility’ not to put the lobsters and other aquatic animals into boiling water. It did not matter whether we know or do not know, but we must maintain our ‘ethical responsibility’ because we are human being. If we do eat them, we would make it sure that we would not torture them first.
The government of Switzerland likewise issued the following statement, “it must be assumed that these animals are sentient and therefore must not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily” [emphasis added].
Switzerland has set an example in front of the world by refining their animal protection laws to obey to the recent scientific observations about animal’s ability to feel pain and pleasure.