UK Could Ban Lobsters from being Boiled Alive

| Post published on July 9, 2021
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A lobster sits on a rock face on the coast.

Progress at last! New legislation is set to recognise molluscs and crustaceans as sentient beings in a fantastic step forward in animal welfare.

We are very happy to hear UK ministers are planning to strengthen the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill by recognising molluscs and crustaceans as sentient beings who can feel pain.

The legislation would increase legal protection of invertebrates such as lobsters, crabs, octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. This would save lobsters and crabs from the unnecessary torture of being boiled alive or sent through the post alive, which unfortunately has been common practise. Instead, there are discussions about how else the animals could be killed, although we don’t believe that any method could be ‘humane’.

Recognising invertebrates as sentient goes beyond the EU protections, which currently only recognises vertebrates as sentient beings. This action would join Austria, New Zealand, and Switzerland, where boiling lobsters alive is already illegal.

Laura Hellwig, Campaigns Manager at Viva! commented: “We’re immensely pleased to hear the UK government will ban boiling lobsters alive. It’s an incredibly cruel way of killing these sentient beings who feel pain and suffer.”

“While there is still a lot of work to be done, this is an important step in the right direction for the welfare of crustaceans.”

We congratulate the campaigners who have fought hard to strengthen the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. Although we do not agree that there is such a thing as ‘humane’ slaughter, recognising sentience is a huge step forward. 

The decision shows what can be achieved when we work together for the animals, but the fight is ongoing. Help us to improve the lives of farmed animals in the UK; please sign our open letter to the government, if you haven’t already, calling for the end of factory farming.

You can save many animals’ lives by choosing vegan. Try our seven-day meal plan now to get started on your journey.

About the author
Dani Lawton
Dani joined Viva! in 2018 after seeing our Viva!licious ice cream van tour! Her role is varied, as it includes helping to oversee the Viva! Shop (, helping to organise Viva! events, coordinating volunteers who represent Viva! at vegan festivals, and engaging vegan businesses with our Supporter Discount Scheme.

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