Victory... Lobster Zone Game Will Be Removed

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Originally Posted: 14 Aug 2010

Victory... Lobster Zone Game Will Be Removed

FROM Orange County People for Animals (OCPA)

We are happy to let you know that the owner of the Long Beach bar has responded to activists' efforts and has promised to remove the "lobster zone game" device that tormented lobsters held captive in a tank for the amusement of patrons.

His response came within a day of receiving the letter below.


Original letter from:
18032-C Lemon Drive, #623
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
(714) 584-4321

August 13, 2010

Re: Lobster Zone Game Device

We are writing on behalf of a number of concerned citizens and animal advocacy groups in Long Beach and surrounding areas to request the immediate removal of the Lobster Zone “game” device from the bar.  This device, which torments lobsters held captive in a tank for the amusement of patrons, is both cruel and unlawful.

Lobsters are intelligent animals capable of experiencing fear and pain.  In the European Union, lobsters are treated as in the same class as dogs and cats with regard to capacity for suffering.

Moreover, lobsters are solitary animals who prefer to burrow under sand and do not enjoy socializing with other lobsters.  In the Lobster Zone tanks, these animals are denied the ability to burrow, forced to interact with other lobsters in close quarters, and subjected to the constant, threatening menace of a huge claw.  Observation of the Lobster Zone game in your establishment, documented by numerous photographs, shows that the lobsters consistently huddle together in a corner of the tank, as far away from the claw as is possible.  Given their preference for solitude and space, their choice to huddle together demonstrates clearly that they fear and routinely avoid the claw. 

California Penal Code Section 597(b) makes it a crime to “torment,” subject to “needless suffering,” “inflict unnecessary cruelty upon,” or “in any manner abuse” an animal.  Violators of this statute may be charged with a felony and fined up to $20,000.  In light of lobsters’ capacity for pain and fear, their preference for solitude and burrowing, and their demonstrated terror of the huge claw in the Lobster Zone, the lobsters used in this “game” are clearly being “tormented,” “abused,” and subjected to “needless suffering” within the meaning of Penal Code §597(b). 

Moreover, California Penal Code Section 597t makes it a misdemeanor to fail to provide a confined animal with “adequate exercise area.”  When not in captivity, lobsters travel up to a mile on a typical night.  The space in the Lobster Zone tank does not allow them to move more than several feet in any direction, nor are they capable of moving freely while in a state of constant fear.

Finally, this game violates Long Beach city ordinances 6.16.130 and 6.16.150, which prohibit a restaurant from keeping live animals on the premises.

Numerous animal advocacy groups are opposed to the bar’s Lobster Zone game, including Irvine Students Against Animal Cruelty, Compassion in Action, In Defense of Animals, Animal Rescue Media Education, Band of Mercy, Orange County People for Animals, United Animal Advocates of Los Angeles, Last Chance for Animals,, Cease Animal Torture, and Concerned Citizens for Crustaceans.  These organizations, whose collective membership numbers in the thousands, routinely mobilize supporters to oppose cruel practices by protesting, picketing and leafletting.

Lobsters are intelligent, sentient animals capable of suffering, not inanimate toys or trinkets.  We believe you were likely unaware of the needs and capacities of lobsters when you decided to place the Lobster Zone machine in your establishment.  We assume you were also unaware of the various state and city laws that this machine violates.  We hope that now that we have brought these issues to your attention, you will decide to remove this game.  Incidentally, because of the concerns expressed above, and the disapproval expressed by patrons, many establishments across the country have removed their Lobster Zone machines permanently.  We hope you will do the same, and we are prepared to remove and re-home the lobsters immediately.

We’d appreciate the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to answer any questions and discuss the logistics of removing the machine and re-homing the lobsters.  The organizations cc’d below and their memberships are deeply committed to seeing this machine removed as soon as possible, and the lobsters in them handed over to us so that they may be safely re-homed at the earliest possible opportunity.  To arrange a time for us to meet, or to advise us of your plans to remove the machine, please call (714) 584-4321 or email [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> or [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>.  If we do not hear from you by Friday, August 27, 2010, we will assume you do not intend to respond, and we will proceed accordingly. 

Thank you in advance for addressing this matter in a timely and compassionate manner.

Carol L. Glasser
Shannon Keith, Esq.
David R. Simon, Esq.

Glenn Cajar (Irvine Students Against Animal Cruelty)
Karen Coyne (Compassion in Action)
Bill Dyer (In Defense of Animals)
Greg Kelly (Band of Mercy)
Tina Locklear (Orange County People for Animals)
Armaiti May, V.M.D. (United Animal Advocates of Los Angeles)
Bryan Monell (Last Chance for Animals)
Veda Stram (
Allan Yaxon (Cease Animal Torture)

Thank you for everything you do for animals!