SPCA New Zealand
Animal Advocacy

Position Statements

Aquatic Crustaceans Caught and Used for Food

SPCA advocates that wild, aquatic crustaceans, including crayfish, crabs, and lobsters, caught for food must be treated humanely at all times.

Crayfish, crabs and lobsters are sentient and 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.

SPCA is concerned about the welfare impact of exporting live rock lobsters, including whether shipping conditions such as chilling or use of AQUI-S minimise welfare harms during transport.

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 stun crustaceans at lower voltage/concentration. If the animal has only been stunned with 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 humane methods of stunning or killing crustaceans.

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