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Live lobsters packaged in plastic: Animal Rights demands explanation from Delhaize
Animal Rights Belgium has released a video and photographic evidence of live lobsters sealed in plastic packaging at a Delhaize supermarket in Asse, a municipality just outside of Brussels in Flemish Brabant.
“The animals are packaged as finished products while still alive,” the animal welfare organisation said in a press release.
Photos and videos sent to the organisation were dated Saturday 31 December 2022 and showed lobsters with claws tied shut in bare plastic containers without water, the animals clearly still moving.
On Monday 2 January, the lobsters were still there but discounted at 50% off. Animal Rights said it had asked Delhaize to explain what happens to the unsold animals such as those photographed.
“Animal Rights finds it barbaric that such horror scenes are taking place in our country in 2023,” said coordinator Els Van Campenhout.
“We are asking Delhaize to immediately stop selling live lobsters. In addition, we ask Flemish minister Ben Weyts to completely ban the sale of live crustaceans.”
In grocery stores across Belgium and elsewhere, lobsters are often sold live but usually from a tank of water where they await purchase. The lobsters in Animal Rights’ photos were prepackaged in the same styrofoam containers as other types of meat, but still alive.
Customers purchase lobsters live to kill at home during the cooking process, but Animal Rights said cooking lobster alive makes bacteria multiply at lightning speed the moment the animal is dead, which can lead to consumers becoming ill.
“Once lobsters are bought and end up in people's homes, people basically do what they want with them,” the organisation said.
“If the lobsters are thrown alive into boiling water or cut in half alive, this basically amounts to torture until when the animals die.”
But Animal Rights said the torture begins long before the cooking process: “From the moment the animals are caught, they are not fed so there is no excrement in the water either. The aim is to sell the animals within two weeks. All the while, the animals are tapping into their reserves.”
A review study by the London School of Economics (LSE) showed strong scientific evidence that lobsters can feel pain, which prompted the UK to amend the Animal Welfare Act in 2021.
In Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand, cooking lobsters alive and without anaesthesia is already banned.
Animal Rights Belgium wrote a letter to Flemish animal welfare minister Ben Weyts asking for an immediate ban on the sale of live crustaceans.
“It is outrageous to trap living creatures in plastic packaging and allow the animals to be killed at home without any supervision,” the organisation said.
But Delhaize said it had no intention of changing its practices, according to spokesperson Roel Dekelver.