Western Australian government to consider banning boiling live lobsters
A week after Switzerland made it unlawful to boil lobsters alive, the State Government of Western Australia is reportedly considering banning the practice of boiling live crustaceans in its review of the Animal Welfare Act.
The proposal was raised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Western Australia (RSPCA WA). RSPCA WA chief executive David van Ooran explained to The West Australian newspaper that the organization wanted the government to ban recreational fishermen in Western Australia from cooking lobsters in boiling water.
In addition, RSPCA WA stated that the government should further prevent animal cruelty during the process of capturing, handling, transporting and storing the animals. 
Van Ooran said the RSPCA WA’s proposal is backed by science. In an experiment published on the Journal of Experimental Biology in 2013, scientists from Queen’s University found crabs could learn to avoid electric shocks, which suggests crustaceans can feel pain.
Scientists found crabs could sense pain. /VCG Photo

Scientists found crabs could sense pain. /VCG Photo

However, the international science community remained divided on whether crustaceans are capable of sensing pain.
Both experts from Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Oslo and America’s Lobster Institute have claimed that lobsters cannot process pain given their primitive nervous system.
According to Van Ooran, the RSPCA recommended ice slurries followed by dissecting, or the freezing method, to kill crustaceans.
Western Australia’s Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan told The Western Australian that the matter would be reviewed this year.
A lobster captured in Australia /VCG Photo

A lobster captured in Australia /VCG Photo

“We are committed to ensuring animal welfare standards reflect the latest science on animal welfare,” she said.
Under the current Animal Welfare Act, animal cruelty is a criminal offence and conviction can include a criminal record. The RSPCA wanted crustaceans to be covered under the Act, as they are in some other Australian states.