Protect crabs and lobsters from pain under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (England and Wales)

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Scientific evidence has now demonstrated that crabs, lobsters, prawns and crayfish are highly likely to experience pain and even emotional anxiety[1].

An EU panel has stated that many of the ways in which these animals are currently slaughtered are inhumane[2].  They are often simply torn apart or boiled alive. It is estimated that a brown crab boiled alive may remain conscious for up to three minutes[3], something which would be considered completely unacceptable in a vertebrate animal like a pig or chicken. Moreover, live crabs have been found for sale packaged and bound tightly in plastic to be slaughtered at home by the customer. Authorities were powerless to prosecute because crabs aren’t currently covered under animal welfare legislation.

Given the latest scientific evidence we believe this is unacceptable. We’re taking action. Please join us!

Our aim is to get the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (England and Wales) to include decapod crustaceans e.g.  crabs, lobsters, prawns, crayfish and shrimp. This means that anyone farming them, storing them or slaughtering them must abide by basic animal welfare rules – providing enough food, decent water quality, protection from pain and suffering, and humane slaughter methods. Importantly, the Animal Welfare Act already allows for the inclusion of these animals should sufficient scientific evidence become available of their ability to experience pain or suffering[4].

Many countries have already done this - in New Zealand, Austria, Norway, Switzerland, some Australian states and territories, and in some European cities, decapod crustaceans are recognized as sentient creatures and afforded relevant legal animal welfare protection.

Tell George Eustice, Zac Goldsmiths and DEFRA that the time has come to protect decapod crustaceans by including them in the Animal Welfare Act!

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[1]You can find further information on the scientific evidence on our website: