Trailer spills thousands of live lobsters

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Trailer spills thousands of live lobsters

[Ed. Note: For a wonderful article about the nature and specialness of lobsters, read About the Lobster.]

From Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals (CETFA)
August 2011

When I got to the scene 5 hours later, lobsters with severed appendages and limbs bent every which way were still struggling in piles with those who had already died.

Lobsters however are not provided any protection under Canada's transport regulations (Health of Animals Act, Section XII). The transport regulations in existence are woefully inadequate even for those animals included in the Act.


Photo by Kathryn Asher, CETFA volunteer

A transport trailer carrying thousands of live lobsters crashed on Highway 1 outside Saint John, New Brunswick around 2 a.m. Friday morning [July 29, 2011].

CETFA Volunteer Inspector Kathryn Asher rushed to the scene to document the accident. She reports:

When I got to the scene 5 hours later, lobsters with severed appendages and limbs bent every which way were still struggling in piles with those who had already died. From what I could tell there were no veterinarians or animal welfare personnel on site. In fact, for the half hour I was there I was the only one near the lobsters.

Comments on news coverage of the accident were disturbing in their levity and quotes by police officers and those in the seafood industry were equally upsetting, referring to the live animals as "product."

Lobsters (and other decapod crustaceans) have opioid receptors and respond to opioids (painkillers such as morphine) in a similar way to vertebrates. Studies have shown that lobsters' reactions to injuries change when painkillers are applied, indicating that they are very likely experiencing the same dulling of pain that we do with painkillers.

Lobsters however are not provided any protection under Canada's transport regulations (Health of Animals Act, Section XII). The transport regulations in existence are woefully inadequate even for those animals included in the Act. For 6 years, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has promised the release of improved regulations, yet we and the animals wait. In the meantime, animals continue to be transported each day, experiencing overcrowding, suffocation, overheating, freezing, long grueling journeys, and like these lobsters, crashes and death on Canada's highways.

Canada's animals deserve better.

Thank you all for standing with us in defending Canada's farm animals!