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Why Do We Boil Lobsters Alive?



– [Narrator] If you walked into a kitchen and saw a pig cooked alive on the stove, you'd probably be horrified and lose your appetite Yet this is how millions of lobsters meet their fate in American kitchens each year

Some people even relish choosing which lobster's time is up at restaurants or markets across the country But is a lobster really any different from the other animals that we eat? Why do we boil lobsters alive and why do places even sell live lobsters? Well, come to find out this seemingly barbaric way of cooking lobsters could actually save your life Turns out, humans were boiling lobsters alive thousands of years ago The first recorded case came from recipes attributed to the famous Roman cook, Caelius Apicius, in the first century American chefs later adopted the process by 1880 when they discovered that the dish looks and tastes better when the animal is boiled alive

It wasn't until later that we realized this also reduces the risk of severe food poisoning And it's all because of these little guys They're a type of Vibrio bacteria and they thrive on the decaying flesh of lobsters and other shellfish If a lobster dies you only have a few hours before these bacteria show up to the party And once they're in, it's nearly impossible to get rid of them

Even cooking lobster meat won't kill all the bacteria So it's safer just to keep the animal alive right up until you serve it If Vibrio bacteria end up in your system, it's not pretty You can experience abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and sometimes even death Luckily, there's a pretty good way to tell if you've got meat that is gone bad

Just smell it – I can smell the ammonia – Yeah, you can smell that? And that's what that man's just eaten That's ammonia, that's what releases The body starts to decompose, it's been pulled apart, and then decompose

– That's what makes it bad– – [Narrator] So boiling lobsters alive saves us from a world of pain, but what about the lobsters? For starters, lobsters don't scream when you boil them In fact, they lack lungs and don't even have the proper biological equipment to form a scream What you do hear is air and steam escaping from their shells In any case, we don't do this to chickens or pigs because it's pretty obvious that they can feel pain For lobsters it's less clear if their primitive nervous systems and brains even know what pain is

When a lobster thrashes around in the pot does it mean it's in agony? Or is it simply a reflex response to the boiling water, not a conscious action? Turns out no one really knows So more research is needed Regardless, some say this uncertainty is exactly why we should think twice Lobsters we just don't know whether they have conscious experiences or not but there's a thing in ethics that we call the precautionary principle When not knowing, we should err on the side of caution

If there is a potential for something to have the ability to suffer, then we should treat that possibility very seriously So boiling lobsters alive is not a good idea – New Zealand and Switzerland certainly agree They've gone as far as to make it illegal to boil lobsters alive Should America follow suit? Let us know in the comments below

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Source: Youtube

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