Boiling lobsters alive ruled an act of cruelty in Switzerland

Lobsters must be stunned before being boiled alive under new Swiss laws intended to lessen their suffering before being eaten

Switzerland Considers the Feelings of the Lobster

The government said the crustaceans must be "stunned" before being boiled. The crustaceans "must now be stunned before they are put to death", The Guardian reports.

A growing body of scientific evidence states that lobsters and other crustaceans like crabs or crayfish can actually feel pain, the BBC reports.

The government explained the crustaceans can be "stunned" by electrically shocking the sea creature, or by the "mechanical destruction" of their brains. Beginning March 1, cooking live lobsters is no longer permitted in restaurants.

Activists say that lobsters and other invertebrates should therefore be killed humanely, either by putting them in a state of unconsciousness or killing them immediately. Elwood has studied crustaceans for decades and has explored whether the animals do in fact feel pain-a belief that's often debated. The crabs always left the shelter with the shocks.

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Photo taken early on December 23, 2014 shows cooked lobsters for sale in the auction house at the Sydney Fish Market in Sydney.

Elwood says that the most concerning thing are not home cooks or even restaurant kitchens, but large food processing plants where animals are generally dismembered without first killing them or rendering them unconscious. He has performed experiments on crabs by offering them a choice of two shelters: one that consistently emits shocks, and another that does not.

"With the data we know, it is highly likely that the animal will be in pain", of Queens University, Belfast. 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". But there's "clear-long-term motivational change [in these experiments] that's entirely consistent with the idea of pain". An Italian court ruled last June that lobsters can not be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens because it causes them undue suffering. Instead, they must be kept "in their natural environment" to minimize their suffering.

The Swiss laws also addresses a number of other animal rights issues, including puppy farms and devices that punish dogs for barking, according to Reuters.

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