The U.K. Government is considering a ban on boiling shellfish alive in order to eat them.
The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill establishes that animals have consciousness and forbids cruel practices such as the export of live animals and hunting trophy imports. It currently only applies to animals with a backbone but the House is making amendments to extend the bill to invertebrates such as crab, lobster, octopus and squid.
The most common way to cook most shellfish such as lobster and crab is to boil them alive. It is believed that their flesh contains harmful bacteria that multiply when they are killed. Boiling kills these bacteria, making them safe to eat for humans but the animals take between three and five minutes to die that way.
If the new law is adopted, the shellfish would have to be stunned or chilled before boiling, which is considered a more humane way to kill and cook them. It is already illegal to boil crustaceans alive in New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.