Boiling lobsters alive will be prohibited under new UK government legislation that declares crustaceans and mollusks to be sentient beings as well. Only animals with a backbone are covered by the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is presently making its way through the House of Lords. However, the House is considering changes to the bill that would recognize crabs, lobsters, octopuses, squid, and other invertebrates as sentient creatures capable of feeling pain. A few nations, like Switzerland and New Zealand, have made it illegal to boil crustaceans alive.
Because crabs lack a centralized nervous system, some reports claim that typical means of killing them, such as a knife through the head, do not end in immediate death.
According to Maisie Tomlinson, head of the UK charity Crustacean Compassion, the best method to kill a lobster immediately is to electrically shock it. “Crabs, lobster, shrimp, and crayfish should be electrically stunned, rendering them unconscious within a second. You then need to make sure its nervous system is destroyed within minutes.”