SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Crustaceans (Aquatic Crustaceans Caught and Used for Food)

SPCA advocates that wild crustaceans caught for food must be treated humanely at all times.

Increasingly, science is demonstrating crustacean sentience; these animals can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress. This places a duty on humans to ensure that our treatment of crustaceans is as humane as possible.

SPCA opposes subjecting live wild crustaceans to welfare harms during transport, and supports wild crustacean harvesting systems that use humane slaughter practices.

(see Crustaceans in Farmed Animals position statements for more information)

SPCA advocates that crustaceans only be killed after they have been humanely stunned.

Electrical stunning devices or anaesthetics (such as AQUI-S), can be used to humanely stun and kill crustaceans. When used correctly, electrical stunning can humanely kill crustaceans at high enough voltage/concentration, or can humanely first stun crustaceans at lower voltage/concentration. If the animal has only been stunned by using an electrical stunning device or anaesthetic, a mechanical method of killing that destroys the crustaceans’ chain of ganglia (their central nervous system), such as splitting must follow immediately.

SPCA opposes the use of inhumane methods to stun or kill crustaceans.

Spiking and splitting alone, and high pressure killing of conscious crustaceans does not lead to immediate death and these methods are likely to cause distress. Crustaceans must never

be gutted, frozen or subjected to any other form of processing whilst still conscious. It is not humane to boil crustaceans alive. In addition, chilling in air or on ice, boiling, gassing with carbon dioxide, or “drowning” in fresh water are not considered humane methods of stunning or killing crustaceans.

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