In a huge step forward for animal rights, Nicholas Seafood—one of the biggest seafood stores in Sydney, Australia—has pleaded guilty to cruelty-to-animals charges after a video surfaced showing a worker butchering a lobster without stunning the animal first. This is the first conviction case for cruelty to crustaceans ever seen by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Seriously, this is a big deal. Let’s break down the story:

The video, which was uploaded to YouTube, shows a staff member attempt to butcher a live lobster, who’s frantically trying to get away from his knife. The lobster’s tail was chopped off while he or she was still alive—and fully conscious. Twenty to 30 seconds later, the animal was pushed through a band saw. 

Killing any animal is cruel, as it’s been proved that animals experience pain, happiness, fear, and sadness—just as humans do. Crustaceans are no different—and they were included in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1997 after it was scientifically shown that they can feel pain. It’s difficult to imagine the fear and agony this lobster must have felt while being cut apart alive. 

crayfish, crustaceans, crustacean, lobster, seafood, shrimp

Luckily, this lobster’s unjust suffering didn’t go unnoticed, and Nicholas Seafood was punished for this inhumane treatment after it was taken to court by the RSPCA: The store was convicted of cruelty to animals and ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.

lobsters feel pain

About to be Boiled | Naotake Murayama | CC BY 2.0 

Moral of the story? Don’t harm animals! They are sentient beings who should be respected, not killed for human consumption. Crustaceans may not be high on the list of cute and cuddly animals for many people, but they still deserve to live their lives in peace.

What You Can Do

Pledge to go vegan and not to eat lobsters—or any animal. Crustaceans suffer greatly when their bodies are hacked into and they’re boiled alive. Make the compassionate decision when eating and choose delicious, vegan options instead.

Check out our guide to going vegan!