East Coasters baffled by Switzerland’s rule to ban boiling live lobsters

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East coasters baffled by Switzerland’s lobster ruling
WATCH: A court's ruling in Switzerland means that it will soon be illegal to boil lobsters alive. As Morganne Campbell reports, it's a move that has baffled many East Coast dwellers – Jan 18, 2018

The Swiss Federal Council has passed a new law ruling that lobsters can no longer be boiled alive; instead, cooks must knock out the crustaceans or simply kill before cooking the delicacy.

It’s what they call a more humane way of treating the animal, and preventing it from experiencing excruciating pain.

The new regulations take effect in March 2018, and include other protections while in transit.

But it’s not proving popular on Canada’s East Coast.

In the seaside village of Alma, N.B., the gateway to Fundy National Park, sits the Alma Lobster shop.

It’s a third-generation family-run business that distributes about one million pounds of lobster a year to countries as far away as China. The MacDonald family had trouble comprehending the new law.

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“When we cook them, lobsters are dead within… I’d say split seconds. So to try to say you should freeze them or use electricity, I see a lot of poor judgment,” said owner Rodney MacDonald.

He and his wife are concerned the new law could gain traction in other parts of the world as the ban is not the first of its kind — it’s in place in New Zealand and a city in Northern Italy.

“I can’t see it ever working in Canada or the U.S.,” says co-owner Catherine MacDonald.

The ban has re-ignited the debate surrounding whether or not lobsters can actually feel pain. Animal rights advocacy group PETA believes they can in this excerpt taken from their website: “PETA has consulted with many marine biologists about the least cruel way to kill a lobster. While the experts couldn’t seem to agree on which method would cause the least suffering, they do agree that there is really no humane way to kill these sensitive and unusual animals,” PETA said in a statement.

Legislation banning the boiling of live lobsters is something that has not picked up much steam in North America so far.

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