Netting humane seafood this Christmas

Christmas Seafood / 11th Dec 2015

Are you serving up fresh seafood this Christmas and New Year? It’s a big Aussie tradition and crowds will no doubt gather at seafood shops and markets across the country in the days leading up to Christmas in search of lobsters and crabs to add to their table’s spread.

Yet before they get to the shop, conscious consumers are asking a big question – what’s the best way to help make sure the popular Aussie Christmas is a humane one?

Buy it dead – killing crustaceans humanely is complicated and requires specialised equipment and skills. So, let the pros do it and don’t do it at home.

Why is humanely killing crustaceans difficult? Can’t you just put lobsters and crabs in the freezer and then drop them into boiling water? No, definitely not. Crustaceans have multiple nerve centres running through their bodies. Research has shown that slaughter without first stunning and then quickly destroying all the nerve centres means they will suffer pain and discomfort.

Like other animals processed for food, stunning must be done by skilled people using specialised equipment to ensure the animal doesn’t experience any pain. Stunning of crustaceans also needs to be reflective of the species and whether they are from a marine or freshwater environment. Getting this wrong means the animal is likely to die from their body going into severe shock.

The RSPCA has developed a guide on the humane killing of crustaceans for human consumption for those working in the seafood industry, including chefs and seafood sellers. If you have a local seafood retailer and you would like to ensure the lobster and crab you buy has been slaughtered humanely, let them know about the guide.

Want more? For more ways to make your Christmas season a humane one – check out Start a conversation this Christmas and Embrace humane food and waste less this Christmas


  1. Rhonda Coleman says:

    I never eat any seafood I have met and I will be very particular about where I buy it. I really like the post and will keep it. By the way I am a vegetarian so I won’t have seafood this year

  2. Thanks for this wonderful and informative blog! I will be using the Shop Humane website for advice from now on 🙂 I will be asking the correct questions when buying my food too, to ensure I do my best to Shop Humane.
    Merry Christmas.

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