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Swiss ban against boiling lobster alive brings smiles - at first

From CBC - January 12, 2018

A Swiss effort to mandate kindness to lobster before they are cooked could reach across the Atlantic Ocean to the East Coast lobster industry, but a New Brunswick company is not worried yet.

Earlier this week, the Swiss government banned boiling lobster live without stunning them first. Italso stoppedallowing the transport of live lobster packed in ice, instead insisting they be carried in something that reproducestheir natural environment.

The new regulations are part of Switzerland's program to make the treatment of animals more humane.

"My first reaction was to laugh about it a little bit," said Nat Richard,director of corporate affairs atWestmorlandFisheriesin Cap Pel, N.B.

"You almost wonder if it's true or not."

According to Richard, Canada has very strict handling procedures.

Although the Swiss said they do not want lobster to feel pain before they are cooked, Richard is not convinced the new regulations are any more humane than a quick dunk in boiling water, the traditional step in preparing the crustaceans as a meal.

"It is not a crueller method than, for example, decapitating the animalwith a knifeor electrocuting the animal in an electrified water bath."

ButRichard said it's important to take the Swiss changes seriously.

"I am not concerned it will become a major issue, but we need to be alert to it."

He said Switzerland is not a major market for his company, compared withFrance, Germany, the United Kingdom or Spain.

"But still it's something that we follow closely as an industry."

Even some people in Switzerland were caught off guard by the changes.

'I do not think the French, for example, wouldforfeit theirfoiegrasindustry.' - Nat Richard, WestmorlandFisheries

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