The Swiss are making it illegal to boil lobsters, claiming the classic cooking method is cruel because they can ‘feel pain’.
A new law due to take effect in March will ban chefs from throwing live lobsters into pots of boiling water, forcing them to ‘render them unconscious’ first.
Restaurants will instead have to electrocute them or temporarily stun them before stabbing them with a knife.
The new legislation is a world first, making Switzerland the only country to have such strict laws on lobster cooking.
Switzerland is soon to make boiling live lobsters illegal, with new laws coming in from March
It has been designed to uphold the part of the Swiss constitution on ‘animal dignity’.
New strict rules also mean cats have to have daily visual contact with other felines and hamsters have to be kept in pairs.
Switzerland’s changes come as Britain prepares to make similar amendments to their own animal welfare policy on lobsters.
Earlier this month UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice said the government was looking at bringing in a law that would mean crustaceans had to be either frozen to death or stunned.
Restaurants will instead have to electrocute them or temporarily stun them before killing them with a knife
Campaigners want ministers to change animal welfare laws to include decapod crustaceans for the first time because they say there is evidence they feel pain.
Mr Eustice yesterday said the government was considering amending the legislation. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘There is a serious issue.
‘We know that among some of the larger crustaceans, such as lobsters, they do not feel conscious pain in the way that we do.
‘But there is some evidence that they have a nervous system that enables them to detect stress and this is something that we ought to be considering.
‘The RSPCA has issued some very good guidance on the correct way to kill a lobster. You can either gradually freeze them, in which case they literally lull into unconsciousness.
‘Or there is even a device called a ‘crusta-stun’, which is a stunning device that knocks a lobster out.’
He added: ‘I’ve spent many an hour sitting down with our officials and experts. We are looking at this issue but it is a complex one and the evidence is actually quite mixed.’
Campaigners including television presenter Michaela Strachan, RSPCA chief scientific officer Dr Julia Wrathall of the Humane Society International, last month wrote to Environment Secretary Michael Gove about the issue.
In a letter, they said: ‘In light of the extreme practices they are subjected to, we call on the government to include decapod crustaceans under the definition of ‘animal’ in the Animal Welfare Bill (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) and in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.’
More than 32,000 people have already signed a petition online to support a change in the law.
Switzerland’s changes come as Britain prepares to make similar amendments to their own animal welfare policy on lobsters