The most unsettling part of eating lobster has always been the thorny subject of how to humanely kill the creature. The matter—whether it’s okay to boil a lobster alive—was tackled headfirst by the late David Foster Wallace in his 2004 classic of food journalism, “Consider the Lobster,” published in Gourmet. If that article did anything, it certainly dissuaded myself, and likely countless others, from choosing lobster as my crustacean-of-choice (you really should try Dungeness crab).
On Wednesday, as part of a sweeping bill for animal welfare, the Swiss government banned the act of boiling lobsters alive. The law, which takes effect in March, states that lobsters now must be “stunned” before they are killed. According to the BBC, animal activists laid out a number of humane methods of stunning lobsters, which include chilling them in the freezer for 20 minutes, to using a $3,400 device called the Crustastun, marketed as “the world’s most compassionate stunning system for crabs and lobsters.”
The Swiss law also states:
Live crustaceans, including the lobster, may no longer be transported on ice or in ice water. Aquatic species must always be kept in their natural environment.