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Lobsters must be comfortably numb before cooking - Swiss government

Part of wider animal welfare regulations

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Switzerland has banned the common culinary practice of throwing fresh lobsters into boiling water as part of an overhaul of its animal protection rules.

"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 killing them," say the rules adopted by the government on Wednesday that will take effect in March.

The regulations also aim to crack down on illegal puppy farms, outlaw automatic devices that punish dogs for barking, spell out conditions for putting down sick or injured animals, and make organisers responsible for animal welfare at public events.

The Swiss are not alone in trying to protect lobsters from what activists call cruel treatment in the kitchen.

Neighbouring Italy's highest court ruled in June that lobsters must not be kept on ice in restaurants because it causes them unjustifiable suffering before they head for death by fine dining.

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