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Lobsters: Out of Boiling Water, Into the Crustastun’s Electrified Bath

Even dedicated meat-eaters are finally realizing that lobsters and crabs feel pain, and that even if their perceptions of pain and suffering aren’t quite the same as those of mammals (read: ours), it may not be OK to boil them alive for the eaters’ gustatory pleasure. What’s being done with these realizations, unfortunately, reads more like bad sci-fi than like any genuine acquisition of humane awareness.

A new “solution” to the problem of these animals experiencing pain and stress has been found, one that is supposed to allow seafood lovers to be nice to their lobsters and eat them too. Enter the CrustaStun, the hot new contraption on the “humane” meat market.

British inventor/entrepreneur Simon Buckhaven believes that crustaceans feel pain, and indeed, upon opening the home page of the CrustaStun website, the following text rolls out: “Crustaceans are sentient animals. Butchering or boiling alive causes them pain and stress.” He thinks it’s much better to shock them to death instead. That’s right folks–the CrustaStun is an electric chair for lobsters, crabs, and the like. Buckhaven has taken advantage of the fact that salt water can carry an electrical charge to give these creatures a shocking watery grave rather than a boiling one. Makes perfect sense, right?

One wonders whether, with his oh-so-deep concern for all things crustacean, it occurred to Buckhaven that his device does nothing to address the stress and discomfort caused by methods of trapping and/or farming and transportation of shellfish, or the crowded tanks in which the animals are kept until ready to be consumed. But hey, why worry about little details like that? Clearly a short, less painful death makes up for a long miserable life. Did he stop to consider that his invention might make concerned consumers feel better about eating these animals, thereby actually increasing demand for crustaceans, directly raising the number of animals who live torturous lives only to become expensive “gourmet” platters? Well, we know for sure one thing that he did think of: “The animals do not get stressed during the process and, as a result, the meat tastes better.” Touching.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    This guy sounds like a major asshole.

  2. Comment by

    Melissa Bastian

    on #

    No, he’s an enterprising and compassionate visionary! Or, you know, a money-grubbing whore who doesn’t mind designing killing contraptions and pushing the myth of humane meat for profit. Whatev.

  3. Comment by

    Aurora Vegan

    on #

    that ‘invention’ is just b.s.
    so, what’s next on his list, a taser gun for oysters that get mercilessly ripped in half for their pearls?

  4. Comment by

    Charlotte Buckhaven

    on #

    Dear Melissa,

    Reqardinq your interestinq blog knockinq Simon Buckhaven’s electro-stunner for lobsters and crabs.

    We respect your views about the way shellfish are treated. That’s why we invented the Crustastun electro-stunner for lobsters and crabs (which to date nobody but this “money-grubbing whore” has bothered doing, please note).

    If you can stop people from catching lobsters and crabs and cooking/butchering them alive, fine. Great if you can make your Vegan ideals accepted by the world and stop people eating these animals at all.

    Meanwhile, as you know, shellfish is a big industry. People will continue to catch, inhumanely process and eat these animals for the foreseeable future.

    How do you think these animals are killed now? If you believe it’s better that restaurateurs and fishmongers should continue to boil live creatures, barbecue them alive or amputate the claws and legs of live creatures, or cut them in half and fry them alive, pull them in half or tear their shells off and cook the pulp alive, or do the vile stuff that’s done daily, just go on knocking someone who has tried at least, to give these animals a more compassionate end, completely at his own expense.

    This has taken twelve years and we still get rubbish comments on the internet like yours, about money-grubbing and electric chairs instead of support, when all those who purport to be for animal welfare ought to get together.

    No non-corporate single person can deal single-handedly with, as you express it, “methods of trapping/and or farming and transportation of shellfish or the crowded tanks in which these animals are kept until ready to be consumed. But hey, why worry about little details like that?”

    Try inventing anything yourselves, and you’ll see how expensive and difficult it is even to produce one single thing which helps a single stage of the process or get anybody to buy it.

    We hope very shortly to include PETA, with whom we are in negotiation, as public supporters of our method of compassionate electro-stunning for shellfish. Presently we have the support of many animal welfare agencies (HSUS, RSPCA, HSA, UFAW etc.) Why not have a look at our website

    I would respect you for engaging in honest debate with us about this important topic. We have many scientific reports which we could send you if you were interested. You are doing no good to these animals by making cheap points against a system which is attempting to make a bad situation better.

    Although I would like to, I don’t expect to hear from you, as it seems to me that you and people like you are all for taking a stand and making a mockery of people who try to do something, without doing anything helpful yourselves. I would be delighted to be proved wrong, but will not hold my breath.


    Charlotte Buckhaven

    (wife of Simon Buckhaven)