The United Kingdom is weighing a ban on boiling live lobsters, crabs and other crustaceans amid a push from animal welfare activists to include the invertebrates in legislation that would recognize them as sentient beings.
At present the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is making its way through the House of Lords, covers only vertebrates — animals that have a backbone.
Though the legislation currently only includes vertebrates, lawmakers are weighing expanding it to include invertebrates such as lobsters, as well as octopuses and mussels, according to The Times.
The legislation comes as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it has commissioned a study to examine the creature’s sentience.
Cooking lobster typically involves boiling the creatures alive in excess of 15 minutes, a method long employed to address bacteria but that often leaves the creatures clanking around in the pot. Advocates have argued that first stunning them with an electric device or freezing them is more humane.
Several countries already ban the boiling of lobsters, including New Zealand and Switzerland.