As part of an overall animal protection reform, the Swiss government has banned the common practice of boiling live lobsters without stunning them first.
It must be assumed that these animals are sentient and therefore must not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily, the cabinet announced on Wednesday. Despite widespread criticism from the Swiss culinary industry, the cabinet insists on this change.
“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. Crustaceans must now be stunned before they are killed,” according to the new Swiss law, which will take effect in March.
A similar law came into effect in neighbouring Italy earlier this year.
The reform also strengthens the protection of dogs by cracking down on illegal puppy farms and outlawing automatic devices that punish dogs for barking.
Small and shy animals are included in the measures as well. The law defines appropriate cage sizes and bans casual petting zoos that might pop up at public events, as these distress animals like guinea pigs, which have a strong flight instinct.
Further restrictions will also be placed on animal testing, requiring every laboratory to appoint a specially trained animal welfare officer in future.
swissinfo.ch/ln and agencies