For the Lobster, a Better Way to Go

For the Lobster, a Better Way to Go

Food & Drink

For the Lobster, a Better Way to Go


People in the food business hear a lot of talk from animal rights activists about making things more humane in the meat processing business. But the discussion usually focuses on cattle, pigs or chickens—animals that walk the Earth.

What about the poor lobster, who gets boiled alive? Not a pleasant way to go.

Let’s face it, there are not many dinners more delicious than a freshly cooked Maine lobster with drawn butter.

But can’t scientists come up with a better way to do the poor guy in?

Looks like maybe they have. There’s a new machine that’s designed to electrocute lobsters, crabs and other large shellfish with a single jolt of electricity. It’s called the Crustastun, and it was recently demonstrated at the Food Innovation Centre in Covent Garden, London. The Crustastun is being touted as the most humane way to kill edible crustaceans, eliminating the prolonged suffering that goes with boiling and other current methods.

It works by delivering an electric current directly through the animal so that it dies within seconds.

Simon Buckhaven, the inventor of the machine, said that an electric current of 1.5 amps delivered directly through the shell of a lobster, crayfish or crab could kill the animal in less than two seconds. “We call it a stunner because it’s rather unpleasant to call it a killing machine, but it doesn’t just stun, it really kills,” Buckhaven told Steve Connor, Science Editor for The Independent (UK). Our machine works so that once you press the button, you know that the crustacean will come out dead. None has recovered,” Buckhaven said (dryly, we imagine).

The cost of the Crustastun, around $4,000, is, of course, considerably higher than a pot of boiling water, but how can you put a price on a guilt-free conscience?

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