P-05-937 STOP BOILING CRUSTACEANS ALIVE (lobsters, crabs, crayfish, prawns etc), Correspondence – Petitioner to Committee, 03.09.20




Thank you for your correspondence, my apologies for the late reply. I appreciate the update and have linked a few articles of the subject including a recent article outlining the British Veterinary Association campaign to make illegal the boiling alive of Lobsters, and an open letter to the UK government in 2018 (see below) that has been signed by eminent scientists, veterinary professionals, lawyers, actors, comedians and wildlife experts, including the RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association, asking the government to protect them in animal welfare law, which has been launched by campaign group https://www.crustaceancompassion.org.uk/ , I hope this will provide you with evidence of how much backing the call for the banning of boiling lobsters alive has in the UK and that Wales could lead by example in banning this barbaric act of cruelty.


I will be sending more information soon, but I await your reply.




Kind Regards


Rachel Ward

Cardiff Animal Rights























Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Nobel House

17 Smith Square


London SW1P 3JR


31st January 2018


​Dear Minister,


We the undersigned write out of concern for the welfare of decapod crustaceans who remain unprotected by animal welfare legislation. Based on recent compelling scientific evidence that they are sentient and therefore can experience pain, and in light of the extreme practices they are subjected to, we call on the government to include decapod crustaceans under the definition of ‘animal’ in the Animal Welfare Bill (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) and in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.


Decapod crustaceans are protected under animal welfare legislation in Norway, Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand and some Australian states and territories; as well as in some regions of Germany and Italy. Yet in the UK, decapods fall outside of the legal definition of ‘animal’ in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and so there is currently no legal requirement for food processors, supermarkets or restaurants to consider their welfare during storage, handling or killing. However, Section 1 of the Act provides for the inclusion of invertebrates of any description “if the appropriate national authority is satisfied, on the basis of scientific evidence, that animals of the kind concerned are capable of experiencing pain or suffering” (Animal Welfare Act, 2006). Since the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was introduced, a body of scientific evidence has emerged which strongly indicates that decapod crustaceans do not merely respond to nociceptive stimuli, but are capable of experiencing pain. Avoidance learning, rapid behaviour change, prolonged rubbing of affected areas, the laying down of memories, and motivational trade-offs are among the criteria for pain experience that have been observed. A scientific summary is attached.



Despite this evidence, decapods are frequently seen crammed together in brightly lit tanks in food retail establishments with no consideration for their welfare; are frequently sold live to the consumer for amateur home storage and killing; and have even been found for sale live yet entirely immobilised in shrink-wrap. There is no economic or culinary reason why decapods cannot be humanely dispatched, yet killing is sometimes preceded by breaking off the legs, head or tail, and is often accomplished by boiling alive. Roth and Øines (2010) estimate that an edible crab boiled alive may remain conscious for at least three minutes.



More than 23,000 people have signed a petition online (change.org, 2018) and on paper to include decapods in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and 41 animal welfare organisations have supported this recommendation in a joint post-Brexit animal welfare manifesto (Wildlife and Countryside Link, 2018). Given the strength of the existing evidence, the scale of suffering involved, and the public interest in this issue, we believe that the time has come to join other nations in recognising the sentience of these animals.



Yours sincerely,


Maisie Tomlinson

Campaign Director

Crustacean Compassion



Professor Michael C. Appleby OBE

Honorary Fellow. Expert researcher, educator and author on animal welfare, member of FAWC 2007-16.

University of Edinburgh



Bill Bailey

Comedian, Actor, Presenter



Claire Bass

Executive Director

Humane Society International UK



Professor Marc Bekoff

Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Colorado, Boulder



Professor Culum Brown

Associate Professor and Assistant Editor of the Journal of Fish Biology Macquarie University



Ian Cawsey

Animal Advocate. Member of Parliament 1997-2010, and Former Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW).



Eddie Clutton Dipl ECVAA MRCA

Director: Wellcome Trust Critical Care Laboratory for Large Animals; Academic Head: Veterinary Anaesthesia / BVSc MRCVS DVA Roslin Institute, Edinburgh ​



Dr Alasdair Cochrane

Senior Lecturer in Political Theory

The University of Sheffield



Martin Cooke MRCVS

Veterinary Invertebrate Society



Simon Doherty BVMS CertAqV MRCVS MRQA CBiol FRSB Director / Certified Aquaculture Veterinarian Blackwater Consultancy Ltd



Peter Egan

Actor and Animal Welfare Campaigner



Professor Bob Evans

Emeritus Professor of History

University of Oxford



Ricardo Fajardo

International Animal Welfare Legislative Expert; and El Derecho de los Animales (“Animal Law”) author, 2007



John Fishwick

President, British Veterinary Association; and signing on behalf of the British Veterinary Association



Charles Foster MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS

Fellow of Green Templeton College

University of Oxford



Professor Robert Garner

Professor of Politics

University of Leicester



Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith

Professor of History and Philosophy of Science University of Sydney



Professor Stevan Harnad

Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science Editor, Animal Sentience University of Southampton



Vanessa Hudson


Animal Welfare Party



Dr Robert C. Jones

Associate Professor of Philosophy

California State University, Chico



Professor Andrew Knight MANZCVS, DipECAWBM (AWSEL), DipACAW, PhD, FRCVS, SFHEA Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics University of Winchester



Dr Dan Lyons

CEO, Centre for Animals and Social Justice The University of Sheffield



Dr Heather Maggs

Postdoctoral researcher

University of Reading



Professor Jennifer Mather

Professor, Psychology

University of Lethbridge, AB Canada



Dr Steven McCulloch BVSc BA PhD DipECAWBM(AWSEL) MRCVS Acting Director, Centre for Animal Welfare. Recognised European Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law / Centre for Animal Welfare, University of Winchester



Dr Alan McElligott

Reader in Animal Behaviour

University of Roehampton



Dr Dorothy McKeegan

BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Senior Lecturer University of Glasgow



Fieke Molenaar MSc DZM(Mammalian) MRCVS

President of British Veterinary Zoological Society British Veterinary Zoological Society



Jean-Marc Neumann

Lawyer LLM, Secretary General of EGALS (Educational Group for Animal Law Studies), Director and Editor of Animal et Droit



Chris Packham

Naturalist and Broadcaster



Dr Nick Palmer

Head of Policy

Compassion in World Farming



Dil Peeling BVSc MSc MRCVS

Formerly Senior Policy Officer, Eurogroup for Animals, Brussels



Dr Mirjam Prinz (nee Appel) PhD

Biological Scientist

Bavarian research institute of agriculture, Germany



Mike Radford OBE LLB

Reader in Animal Welfare Law

University of Aberdeen



Ian Redmond OBE CBiol, HonDUni, DSc h.c., FLS Independent Wildlife Biologist and Conservationist



Paul Roger

Independent Veterinary Consultant and Chair of AWSELVA



Professor Anil K. Seth

Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience; Co-Director, Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science; Editor-in-Chief, Neuroscience of Consciousness University of Sussex



Dr Toni Shephard

Executive Director

Animal Equality



Kellie Shirley




Alick Simmons

Independent Veterinarian; Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, 2008-2016



Dr Lynne Sneddon B.Sc. (Hons), PhD

Director of Bioveterinary Science

University of Liverpool



Ronnie Soutar BVM&S, MSc, MRCVS

President Fish Veterinary Society



Michaela Strachan

TV Presenter and Conservationist



Dr Cedric Sueur

Head of the masters degree Animal Law and Ethics, Member of the French Council for Animal Experimentation Université de Strasbourg, France



Dr Alma Swan BSc (Zoology), PhD (Biology) Private individual



Dr Aurelie Thomas DVM, PhD, DipECAWBM (AWSEL), MRCVS Named Veterinary Surgeon Wellcome Sanger Institute



Lord Alexander Trees BVM&S, PhD, DVetMed, DVMS, MRCVS, HonFRSE Veterinarian/Crossbench Peer House of Lords



Wendy Turner Webster

TV Presenter



Peter Tutt


The Shellfish Network



Gary Webster




Professor John Webster MA, Vet MB, PhD, DVM (Hons, London), MRCVS Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science



Dr Peter Wedderburn BVM&S CertVR MRCVS



Dr Sean Wensley BVSc MSc Grad.DMS MRCVS

Senior Veterinary Surgeon




Dr Julia Wrathall

Chief Scientific Officer