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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

More Proof That Lobsters Feel Pain

Written by PETA | November 8, 2007

People will cling on to the most unlikely notions if it means that they can keep doing something they enjoy but know deep down is wrong. And sad as it is to say, there are going to be people who continue to ignore or deny the fact that crustaceans feel pain despite mountains of evidence that this is the case—including the study published in New Scientist today, which shows that lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans all share pain sensitivity. Which means (just in case anyone needs this spelled out) that cramming them into pots of boiling water while they’re still alive should be a jailable offense. Literally. We prosecute people for equivalent cruelty to cats or dogs, so a lobster bake shouldn’t be any different.

Setting that aside for a second, I hate the fact that this study was ever done in the first place. The notion of a bunch of grown men and women in labcoats prodding lobsters to see if they react and then pompously announcing to the scientific community, that “yes, they do react,” would frankly be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that these animals suffered to prove what we all know intuitively already: That there’s something horribly wrong with the way we treat these animals, and that no matter how much someone might enjoy the taste of lobster, there is simply no way to justify torturing a living being for the sake of a palate preference.

If you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely check out the essay Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace (who happens, incidentally, to be my favorite living author). It’s a fascinating analysis of the ethics related to this issue from the point of view of someone who had never given it any thought at all, until he was assigned to write about a lobster festival for Gourmet magazine. You can find that here.

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  • Caboose (Combine Slayer) says:

    Ya know whats worse than meat Even though meat isnt unhealthy in moderation and cutting the white fatty part off? CANDY and SWEETS. So dont ever blame meat for obesity.

  • Ariel, A.R.A, F.F., A.L. says:

    2 Maya Master’s candidate wildlife biology Nice of YOU to try to say I twisted your words. I did not quote you. I asked a question for the sake of clarification. So there was no need for you to go into the “I never saids…” BUT now I will quote you “While I’m not completely opposed to eating meat…” “Enjoy animals but don’t make a joke out of it.” “So go ahead and enjoy that meal…” You made no mention of “humane” or inhumane killing other than “…don’t boil an animal alive. It’s cruel.” Well dear Maya how many species of animals are actually boiled alive compared to the millions and millions that are atrociously caged and penned for a lifetime before they are mercilessly slaughtered? How does having “respect and gratitude” to eat them change the FACT those millions of animals that are tortured and suffer from birth to death before they are slaughtered? What you refuse to accept Maya is that you are a condescending animal welfare activist at best and that advertising your title and potential candidacy doesn’t amount to a hill of beans for animal rights and is not impressive towards ar’s progress nor does your comments strengthen ar’s. Second blog same condescending aw acitivist type of comments. PeTA’s views of their animal welfare type of “victories” are considered small steps towards the end. And it’s because of condescending aw activists like you who try to play both sides of the fence that are actually a hindrance to ar’s progress which gives approval to the drawnout effect that it’s ok to kill animals just as long as it’s done “humanely.” So as an ar’s activist I am very well aware that the whole world is not going to go veg. in the near future. Knock yourself out with your “gentle” flipflop words while millions of animals are suffering every moment of every day. Fact is Maya this is an ANIMAL RIGHTS’ blog site and I will speak as I choose as an ar’s activist FOR the animals. My “rants”? How about more like I “enlighten” and “educate” people to the TRUTH. I am truthful to them and to myself. And you are NOT going to undermine the spirit of the ar’s activism movement with your lack of thorough education about it and while you also lack deep convictions and dedication.

  • Tetris says:

    “Otters can eat lobsters so why can’t we?” Ethics. If an otter could understand ethics then I would criticize an otter for eating the lobster. But the only species that we know of that can understand ethics is homo sapien. We shouldn’t unnecessarily eat things and definitely shouldn’t inflict unnecessary pain. That’s the principle of ethics that we are debating and it can only apply to beings that understand ethics.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter says:

    Ingrid Lobsters and giving birth to PETA I remember reading one of the newsletters I recieve from PETA monthly. When Ingrid was in her early 20′s a group of friends took her out to dinner for I believe her birthday and ordered a Lobster for her. The moment the server put it down in front of her Ingrid completely fell apart. I believe at that very moment in Ingrid’s mind that PETA was born. Ingrid I may not always agree with you but I shall always respect you and thank you and support you and PETA. Judith

  • Mars says:

    ” Vegetables are organic but they are not sentient. ” Prove it.Being sentient is your concern not mine.Death of an animal or death of a plant is still death. ” including veggies and fruits that DO NOT HAVE NERVES and therefore do not have any capacity to “feel” anything.” So since they don’t feel what we associate as pain andor cannot tell us yes or no in that regards then it’s OK to kill and eat them? Wonder where I’ve read that before…HHHMMM…

  • tinkerbellslayer says:

    Oh this article is so heartbreaking. Poor lobsters. I really feel for them. I see them very much as living feeling beings who absolutely do experience pain just like us. We have no right to trap them bind their claws throw them in overcrowded small tanks and then after all that boil them alive. There is something so wicked in that entire scenario. The taste of lobster a taste I never fancied in the very few times I’ve tried it in my past does not in any capacity justify the heartwrenching process that a lobster goes through. And then to create a whole happy festival around this gruesome process? It’s almost mideval barbaric a circus of pain. I hope that it’s popularity will wane.

  • i love to eat animals says:

    ya know what i never knew waht they do to those lobsters but it tastes delicious

  • Caboose (neutral, blue army. Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha) says:

    Oh and by the way Michele the temperature of the water in the shower only goes up so high! It wont boil but I do notice the rising temp but I dont jump out knowing that it wont harm me.

  • Ariel, A.R.A, F.F.,OCCCSHA, A.L. says:

    Maya Master’s candidate wildlife biology Nice job of YOU trying to get out of it by saying I twisted your words. I didn’t quote you. I asked you a question for the sake of clarification. So no need for you to have started with the “I never saids…” But now I will quote you. Basically Maya you are an animal welfare activist at best. The majority of your first post was condescending to meateaters and not in any way implied about going veg. “While I’m not opposed to eating meat…” “Eat animals if you like but don’t make a joke out of it.” “So go ahead and enjoy that meal…” You made no mention of “humane” or inhumane killing one way or the other except for writing “don’t boil an animal alive.” Well how many species of those caged and penned animals are boiled alive compared to the animals that are slaughtered? How does showing “respect and gratitude” for eating meat change the horrendous conditions of the animals preslaughter? Second post same type of animal welfarecondescending comments about meatseafood being organic range free etc. What you refuse to accept dear Maya since you are an animal welfare activist at best is that advertising your titles and potential candidacy doesn’t make you an authority on the animal rights’ movement is not impressive for animal rights and doesn’t mean a hill of beans while you are trying to play on both sides of the fence. You lack convictions and determination. And what you also refuse to accept is that the animals are living in horrendous conditions suffering every moment of their lives and that killing is killing whether it be socalled “humane” or inhumane. PeTA views their “victories” for the animals to have “humane” living conditions preslaughter as small steps towards the end and therefore remains unacceptable until that end is reached. So I assure you that I am well aware that everyone in the whole world is not going to go vegan or vegetarian in the near future. And since you have condescending attitudes as well as not being educated about animal rights’liberation it is because of people like you that are hindering the animal rights’liberation progress. My “rants”? Hardly. How about more like “enlightening” and “educating” people about the FACTS. How about more like sticking to my deep convictions being honest with people and honest with myself? So you can knock yourself out with your “gentle” flipflop words expecting people to go veg. Meantime I will speak as I choose about the REALTIES the excruciating atrocities that the enslaved animals endure.

  • rojo says:

    Laura thats the problem people think if animals like insert favorite predator here had human intelligence they wouldn’t kill. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but over 90 of the human population aren’t vegetarian. And they apparently don’t even need meat to survive.

  • Caboose (neutral, blue army. Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha) says:

    Ana So calling someone an asshole for listing an alternative isnt being immature? Doublespeak! Michele You know what? Just drop it okay? How about a quick and painless aluminumnot lead airgun BB as an alternative? Susannah But thats taking the easy way out!

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    If eating lobsters is a fad then last week I ate them like they were going out of style. I appreciate the fact that the lobsters were alive immediately prior to my eating them. I don’t know if the same applies to lobsters but during a crawfish boil you never eat the ones that were dead prior to boiling as they are often spoiled. I imagine their deaths are quick however. You guys should stick to kitties and puppies.

  • Ana says:

    Humane slaughter is an oxymoron. There exists no “nice” way to kill any sentient being. Killing is a violent act there is no way to paint it humane. The lethal injection used for murderers in death penalties is considered inhumane by many and is being debated. Taking a life is in no way humane simply because you have a taste for flesh. Even though others continue to eat animals that does not make it moral because of their insensibilities and the because the government condones such bloodfests. Animal welfarists speak of humane methods to kill animals in order to appease those that still eat them. For the animals being slaughtered none of it is humane as they fight for their lives. I will never support nor condone “nicer” ways of killing animals. I am an abolitionist and that stance is too soft and detrimental for all animals. Those that fought to end slavery did not ask for nicer behavior from owners their only goal was an end of slavery. Animal welfarists are delaying any major changes for animals most especially those being slaughtered to fulfill the desire of eating cadavers. “Happy meals” are the new pc meals promoted by animal welfarists. None of those poor animals had happy deaths. Promote veganism it is healthy as well as tasty! Cannibals honoring people before they eat them does not make it any more agreeable to those being slaughtered. Those people would prefer not becoming a meal for any of them.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter says:

    Haven’t we always known that sea life has pain after all they all have hearts and they bleed.

  • Caboose (anti Combine) says:

    Rojo Not a food chain but a web

  • Susannah S says:

    Rather than look for proof about which animals feel pain and which don’t why not boycott eating ANY of them? That way the ethical dilemma takes care of itself.

  • a person on this planet says:

    Until we can treat one another with kindness and respect it’s sorta hard to tell others how to treat animals. we are all valuable beings on this rock. i choose not to eat lobster because i don’t like it having grown up in new england. i don’t particularly like meat but i eat it occasionally. my grandfather was a farmer. he had to slaughter animals. he had to put down his horses when they got too old and were in too much pain. i don’t understand how some folks think they’re taking the moral high ground and turn around and call someone names. let’s all try to work together to make this place better. name calling is really clever and a wonderful way of convincing people that you’re superior. live your life in an honorable manner and you’ll get your point across. walk your talk. meat eaters aren’t evil any more than vegetarians are. evil people are evil. according to my family’s belief system we must honor all living things and thank them for their contribution. be responsible.

  • Ana says:

    Mars You’re too stupid to recognize sarcasm. Not the same circulatory system and it is not called that. Vegetables are organic but they are not sentient. When your carrots start bleeding put your head in the toilet bowl and flush yourself away. Caboose There is nothing immature about Michele. Now you well…not worth wasting time on.

  • Mars says:

    “Yes it’s cruel to boil an animal alive. ” To bad that is only an opinion and not fact.

  • Michele says:

    Caboose you are welcome to “prove” your theory with yourself as the test subject… In the meantime the true animal lovers will continue to eat nonanimal foods including veggies and fruits that DO NOT HAVE NERVES and therefore do not have any capacity to “feel” anything.

  • Maya: Master's candidate, wildlife biology says:

    Hi Ariel! Nice job twisting my words my dear. I certainly never said that people should buy animals who have been tortured. Indeed I specifically stated that inhumane methods of killing animals should be avoided. What you refuse to accept Ariel is that there will continue to be people who eat meat long after you and I are dead. In the meantime we should GENTLY try to convince them to go vegetarian. Harsh words will have the opposite effect. For the people who will never go vegetarian even PETA agrees that some methods of killing animals are more humane than others. If the only meatseafood were organic pesticidefree free range local etc etc it would be a huge improvement over boiling lobsters debeaking chickens etc etc. Goats by the way take up 87 percent less land than cattle and can be raised for their goat’s milk without killing them. Face it Ariel. Your rants will not change the world. Neither will mine. But the spirit of cooperation might.

  • valli says:

    so i just wanna know one thing how does something with no vocal chords scream?

  • Laura says:

    “How can you say it is wrong? It is nature at work the natural order of things so to speak. That’s why it’s called a food CHAIN.” Things don’t have to be natural to be ethically right. A nutritionally complete vegan food for otters would be ideal but unfortunately there is no such food available so otters must eat conscious beings. I am sure that if otters were granted the intelligence compassion and sense of morals that humans have and the vegan food WERE available some might choose it. But let’s not get away from reality anyway. Fact is otters have no choice. Humans do. And we can make the compassionate choice of not boiling lobsters alive or we can make the primitive choice of cruelty.

  • ray of light says:

    your last remark is correct for this reason i’m a fructarian!

  • Ariel says:

    Maya Master’s candidate wildlife biology Yes it’s cruel to boil an animal alive. However according to what you implied it’s not particularly cruel and it’s acceptable to “enjoy” eating animals who were caged or penned and treated beyond atrocious cruelties from their births until their merciless slaughters?

  • rojo says:

    laura “but theyotters can’t grasp the concept that what they do is wrong.” How can you say it is wrong? It is nature at work the natural order of things so to speak. That’s why it’s called a food CHAIN.

  • Mars says:

    ” used to love lobster but when I heard they scream while being boiled alive I quit eating them.” Another that thinks hot air escaping the shell is screaming from a creature without vocal cords. “Oh no plants that feel pain and all without a circulatory system!!!! Do they scream to you as well? Wow what next talking rocks?” Interesting that Ana would use the same reasoning we meat eaters use. So plantsanimals don’t “feel” like we do.So plantsanimals can’t speak so we must speak for them. FYI plants do have a circulatory system that includes viens and blood.They also breath and reproduce. They are correct that in todays world we don’t have to eat meat to live. We also don’t have to eat vegetables to live as well.

  • Caboose (neutral, blue army. Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha) says:

    Michele Whoah lets not get of our rocker now. This experiment was proven with a frog. If a frog was dumped in boiling water it would jump out right away. But if dumped in lukewarm water and it was gradually heating up the frog wont react by jumping outYou can see it in Inconvenient Truth.Weird huh? True that it may suffer but hey I tried listing an alternative and you act immatureasshole. At least I dont believe in censorship

  • Ray-O says:

    NEVER use the word “we” and “human” in the same sentence. “We” means “you and me” and I am not human. I am a bipedal panther. Are we clear?

  • Michele says:

    Caboose why don’t YOU get in the shower turn the water on lukewarm and gradually increase the temperature let’s see if YOU notice the rising temperature and if YOU react when it eventually boils you ahole!

  • Ana says:

    Oh no plants that feel pain and all without a circulatory system!!!! Do they scream to you as well? Wow what next talking rocks?

  • Caboose (neutral, blue army. Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha) says:

    Why not put lobster in lukewarm water and gradually increase the temperature. The lobster wont notice the rising temperature and wont react.

  • EAS says:

    RayO Your statement is a cookie cutter statement that all people use when one wants to disagree with compassion toward animals. Just because an animal eats an animal doesn’t mean we should. There are a lot of things animals do that we don’t. Even though we are all connected all living beings we do not share the same dietary needs. Why do we humans say that we are above all others and yet when it suits our selfish needs we use excuses that place us all at the same level. The other thing that you need to remember is all other living beings nonhumans live within nature. They are guided by a system that creates sustainability. We humans dismantle the system until all becomes extinct. We are in fact the most dangerous animal on the planet. Something to ponder. EAS

  • Maya: Master's candidate, wildlife biology says:

    Really good point Jack. Thank you! While I am not completely opposed to eating meat I can guarantee you that the shoddy condition of our planet today is due to a lack of humility in regards to our place on Earth. Lobsters humans and dogs all have the same life value. Lobsters play a vital role in keeping our planet healthy unlike dogs and humans who just contribute to ruining the ecosystem. Eat animals if you like but don’t make a joke out of it. Show some gratitude and humility. Respect the wildlife who are part of the biosphere. The biosphere keeps our water soils and food healthy for us to use. Without them the Earth would be toxic. So go ahead and enjoy that meal but try to eat sustainable food and don’t boil an animal alive. It’s cruel.

  • animalfriend says:

    every living being feels pain and is afraid from death and it’s strange that the human being which should be the most sensitive and feeling of all is still on such an inconscient level to pretend that it’s not true! we just saved a little dog from being shot and he has very sad eyes and so i told my son and he answered me yes mother but don’t think that i’m that stupid for not being aware of it! and i answered this your statement is a great thing my son there are many priests who don’t see this! the expression of an animal’s eyes are the mirror of the human beast!

  • Mars says:

    Seems only PETA needed this study.Plants may feel pain but I hardly doubt that slows you down any.

  • Vegoconics says:

    RayO I hear what you are saying. But the problem comes when humans intervene in a natural cycle of life. There are preys and predators in the wild and let that cycle of nature take care of itself. We as humans should not intervene in that cycle. Our leaders give out hunting licenses telling us that the money from those fund state parks and hunters take care of bear and deer population. But why even have a system like this where we have to depend on hunters who practically rape nature. Why can’t animals take care oof the natural cycle. What I am trying to say here is that we dont need hunters or be predators just because there are preys out there. We should not control or intervene in a natural cycle that has taken care of itself for thousands of years. Remember we are the newest species on this planet however we think that we have been here forever and know what the fuck we are doing.

  • PD says:

    I used to love lobster but when I heard they scream while being boiled alive I quit eating them. I don’t see why they had to do a big study when its obvious if something is screaming its being hurt. Oh yeah I forgot they did it for money. Silly me. PD

  • Wil says:

    You’re not “jumping in the water.” You’re scalding to death a living thing. Can’t you see the difference?

  • Russell says:

    RayO if you want to compare yourself to an otter go ahead they HAVE to eat them we don’t it’s a very elementary principle…

  • Caboose (neutral, blue army. Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha) says:

    Ummmm…. Lobsters dont really have families. But its okay to fish if you dont want to buy.

  • rojo says:

    whilst i am uncomfortable with the thought of boiling something alive prof Elwood has proven a reaction to stimuli not necessarily pain. Like a sneeze for instance as a measurable reaction to a low pain level irritant. As I don’t have a subscription to new scientist perhaps someone who does can tell me if he dropped a nonirritant like honey on the antennae and the results. Obviously the antennae are sensitive to somethingotherwise are useless appendages but the question I would pose is it pain movement or something else?

  • Ariel says:

    That’s right Carla. And lobsters sit and wait with their claws bound helplessly lying on ice in grocery stores. And other ones are piled on top of one another helplessly struggling in aquarium tanks. I get so sickened when I see them like that in the grocery stores that I have to turn the other way otherwise I’d do something the managers wouldn’t like and get into a LOT of trouble that wouldn’t make any progress anyway.

  • Laura says:

    “Um I fully acknowledge that a lobster feels pain… so does a gazelle but that doesn’t stop an otter.” Er first of all… aren’t gazelles eaten by like lions? Anyway you meant lobsters are eaten by otters. Yeah they don’t care about the fact that lobsters feel pain. But otters are NOT as intelligent as humans are. It doesn’t mean they’re not worth as much as we are but they can’t grasp the concept that what they do is wrong. Nor do they have a choice. Animalproductfree otter kibble isn’t available in the wild unfortunately. Or in supermarkets. “Well of course organisms feel pain! Just some react differently some dont really react at all simple celled.” Think about it. Does not reacting to pain make it okay to inflict it?

  • Ana says:

    Cannibals don’t have compassion for humans. And….what a specious argument. Cows sheep goats chickens rabbits are herbivores so have compassion for them. Go vegan so that more can live.

  • Hugo Pottisch says:

    I am sure you know this Crabman on My Name is Earl httpwww.youtube.comwatch?vQiTcIpkLPrQ I am not sure what the message is if you respect the “meat” but kill it nevertheless it suffers less?

  • Amida says:

    RayO So your evoluted brains are just on the same level with an otter’s! poor little guy 50 millions of years for nothing!!!

  • Caboose (neutral, blue army. Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha) says:

    Well of course organisms feel pain! Just some react differently some dont really react at all simple celled. They’re like us and not like us. ?

  • Ray-O says:

    “People will cling on to the most unlikely notions if it means that they can keep doing something they enjoy but know deep down is wrong. And sad as it is to say there are going to be people who continue to ignore or deny the fact that crustaceans feel pain despite mountains of evidence that this is the caseincluding the study published in New Scientist today which shows that lobsters crabs and other crustaceans all share pain sensitivity. Which means just in case anyone needs this spelled out that cramming them into pots of boiling water while theyre still alive should be a jailable offense. Literally. We prosecute people for equivalent cruelty to cats or dogs so a lobster bake shouldnt be any different.” Um I fully acknowledge that a lobster feels pain… so does a gazelle but that doesn’t stop an otter. And while you’re trying to equate lobsters to dogs you oughta consider the reason we domesticated dogs in the first place. Man domesticated wolf so he could help him get the meat. But a lobster is different. Lobsters are animals to be hunted and eaten. They’re prey in the sea and there’s no reason for us not to jump into the pool. Otters don’t have compassion for live lobsters and neither need you.

  • Carla says:

    The lobster was considered to be the poor mans’ food now we put a price tag on it and made it a fad. Like foie gras it comes at a hefty price for these living breathing beings. Consider this… You’re taken away from your home and family well your family goes with you have no choice. You’re stuffed in metal crates one on top of one another shipped off some where in the same way for who knows how long. Given no food or water some of your family die and if you do make it to your destination you sit and wait maybe for days weeks still with no food until you’re boiled to death and eaten… Just doesn’t seem right to me.