I'm rather squeamish when it comes to the killing of creatures for personal consumption. I view all life forms including humans as equal and I would not like to end up on a plate myself via an abbatoir or fish tank especially if my demise was lingering. Most animal corpses arrive on your plate in a restaurant unrecognizable from the original living creature: for instance, lamb roast bears little resemblance to the skippy little living fellows that entrance us in spring with their frolics. Their unseen demise and transformation on our plate enables us to eat lambs without remorse.
Fish and crustaceans are the exception to an unseen demise since quite often they are kept alive in a tank in the restaurant for dispatch at the behest of the eater who has looked them in the eye. Naturally we need to swallow the line that lobsters and crabs go to sleep naturally and easily without pain when dropped into a pan of boiling water. We want to believe it so we do. I received a press release that crustaceans can now be 'stunned.' If effective this has got to be a better way of dispatching a lobster. Now read the press release below and judge for yourself:
Lobsters at a Plymouth restaurant will soon be “crusta-stunned" thanks to an invention by a British barrister and research carried out at Bristol University. The electronic stunner provides a humane method of killing the creatures, and replaces the traditional methods used by chefs such as boiling alive, freezing to death, or cutting up with a knife prior to cooking.
The Buckhaven's "Crustastun", recommended by the RSPCA and the Humane Slaughter Association (amongst many other Animal Welfare organisations worldwide) uses a small electric current to humanely stun and kill shellfish such as lobsters, crabs and langoustines. The Crustastun not only kills the shellfish compassionately (unconscious in less than half a second) but, ‘results in a better product in terms of taste and texture, because the shellfish has not been traumatised in the killing process,’ claims its inventor Simon Buckhaven; “A lobster which will take 2-3 minutes (or a crab 4-5 minutes) to die in boiling water will produce ‘fear hormones’ whilst it dies. These hormones affect the quality and taste of the meat. Killing instantaneously eliminates these stress hormones which results in a better tasting product.“
This claim will be tested at a special invite-only launch at The Waterfront in Plymouth in November.