A New Brunswick woman says she’s unhappy with how lobsters are being treated in grocery stores, and has launched a petition calling on grocery store chains to ban live lobster tanks.
Fredericton resident Andrea McAnany said she believes it’s unethical to keep dozens of lobsters together, crawling over one another in tanks with their claws stuck together with rubber bands.
McAnany said she and her four-year-old son Gavin Coffin were at the grocery store when he asked why the lobsters were treated so poorly.
That led McAnany to research the issue, which inspired her to take action and create a petition, aimed specifically at Sobey’s grocery stores, to ban live lobster tanks.
“We began the petition to eliminate live lobster tanks from grocery stores,” McAnany said.
“The reason being is it just seems slightly archaic. It seems like we’ve been doing that for so many years and it seems like there might be a better process that could be figured out.”
Coffin said he doesn’t like how the lobsters are treated.
“I think that was sad and I want to put them back in the ocean,” Coffin said.
Since early December, the petition has received close to 10,000 signatures.
“Lobsters do have some level of consciousness, they can even feel pain according to some scientists, they can even experience depression according to some other scientists, so if that’s out there and there’s even a possibility of that, it seemed really awful that that is what we are doing,” McAnany said.
In an email statement sent to Global News from Sobeys Inc. director of external communications Jacquelin Weatherbee, she said Sobeys has a number of processes and protocol in place related to the handling and storage of live lobsters.
“All of our employees who handle lobsters in our stores complete this training. Our live lobster tanks have sophisticated systems for maintaining water salinity, temperature, pH, ammonia and oxygen levels so that quality and health of the animals is maintained. We have very high standards for the quality of water in our live lobster tanks, resulting in healthy high-quality lobsters for our customers,” Weatherbee said.
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She said they work with organizations like the National Farm Animal Care Council to ensure our standards are aligned with the current industry codes and animal welfare practices.
“When Andrea brought her concerns to us, we took the time to hear her feedback and also put her in contact with NFACC to learn more about how animal welfare codes and standards are set within the industry. We are always open to hearing feedback from customers and reviewing new information on animal welfare standards as it becomes available,” Weatherbee said.
She said Sobeys Inc. believes in a science-based approach to implement changes within their animal welfare practices.
“Based on the information available to date, we do not see any reason to change our approach,” Weatherbee said. “Sobeys respects that customers have varying opinions, which is why we offer our customers choice through both live and frozen lobster options in our stores.”