One of Sydney’s biggest seafood stores, Nicholas Seafood, has pleaded guilty to cruelty-to-animals charges after a video was uploaded to YouTube showing a staff member butchering a suffering lobster without stunning the animal first.
This is the first conviction case for cruelty to crustaceans ever seen by RSPCA NSW. These animals were covered by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1997 after it was scientifically proved that they can feel pain.
The video shows the frantic lobster struggle and thrash whilst a worker attempts to butcher the animal. The tail was hacked off while the lobster was still alive, and the animal was then put through a band saw around 20 to 30 seconds later.
The store – located at the popular Sydney Fish Market in Glebe – was slapped with a $1,500 fine after being taken to court by the RSPCA.
“I attended the business and spoke to the manager …. We were told that it was an isolated incident and the staff member who did it was not aware of correct procedures to euthanise.”
– RSPCA NSW Inspector Tyson Hohlein
Workers have now reportedly been trained to ensure welfare guidelines are followed in the future.
Of course, we could make even more certain to avoid inflicting pain on lobsters by choosing not to capture and kill them in the first place. Crustaceans may not fit many people’s idea of “cute and cuddly”, but they value their lives just as we value ours and endure agony when they’re dismembered and boiled alive.