Fairground-style grab-a-crab restaurants in Singapore are slammed for needlessly toying with the sea creatures before their imminent death
- Diners could put a token into machine slot and navigate claw to grab crustacean
- SPCA slammed practice as harmful and in contrast to its vision of a ‘kind society’
- Restaurant management apologised for causing public offense
Restaurants in Singapore featuring grab-a-crab fairground-style games have been slammed for needlessly toying with the sea creatures before they are killed and served on diners’ plates.
The arcade machines were spotted at two different restaurants in the island city-state in the last fortnight: The House of Seafood restaurant in Punggol and Sea Tripod Seafood Group’s Jurong restaurant.
A man can be seen standing at the arcade machine ready to have a go at grabbing a crab
The large crabs can be seen tied with rope as the large claw-like arm reaches down to grab the chosen specimen
At the House of Seafood restaurant guests were, for £1.8, able to choose a Sri Lankan crab weighing between 17 to 28 oz.
They were invited to enter a token into the machine slot and navigate the large claw-like arm to catch and drop the selected specimen into a slot before it was taken in cooked and served on a platter.
Meanwhile, at Sea Tripod Seafood Group’s restaurant in Jurong, similar machines were used on live lobsters earlier in the year.
It told The Straits Times this week it had put an end to the practice after the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) deemed it cruel to animals.
The machine remains on display, with live lobsters still housed inside, but its controls have been taped over.
The local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) first drew the public’s attention to the practice at the dining establishment in Punggol on Facebook.
In a statement on Facebook the SPCA said playing with the sea creatures in such a manner caused them ‘unnecessary harm’.
‘It also encourages people to see animals as nothing more than objects to play with and goes against our vision of a kinder society,’ the SPCA said.
‘Crabs are living creatures, not toys.’
After being grabbed by the claw the crabs are dropped into a slot and taken into the restaurant, cooked and served up on the diner’s plate
After several local media outlets wrote articles drawing attention to the public criticism restaurant management apologised.
House of Seafood CEO Francis Ng told reporters on Friday, at his restaurant in Punggol Point, that it would end the practice of catching live machines in all its outlets.
‘We fully support the direction of SPCA and are definitely against animal cruelty,’ he said at the media briefing.
‘Despite the measures to minimise discomfort to the crab, we note the feedback from the public and will cease the catching of the live animals in the machine completely in all House of Seafood outlets worldwide,’ he said.
The Jurong restaurant’s manager, who only wanted to be known as Mr Li, told The Straits Times there had been no intent to offend people or break any laws.
‘If we receive any complaints from government officials, we’ll definitely take more action, but for now we don’t play, we just display,’ he said.
The SPCA has slammed the practice as causing unnecessary harm to the creatures before they are killed and eaten