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Switzerland Outlaws Boiling Lobsters Because They Feel Pain

Life News – by Wesley Smith

Switzerland has followed New Zealand and a few other localities to outlaw boiling live lobsters. It also requires them to be shipped in salt water. Supporters claim that lobsters can feel pain, a dubious prospect, given that they don’t have brains to process stimuli.

But never mind. The Swiss epitomize the world we are creating once we reject human exceptionalism and/or elevate eliminating – as opposed to mitigating — suffering to top societal priority. That can drive policy into surreal regions of misplaced priorities. Consider:  

 Switzerland has amended its constitution to recognize the individual dignity of plants. Not ecosystems. Individual plant dignity. A big-brained bioethics committee, assigned to explain the reasons for so doing, stated in its report, “The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants,” that since plants share biochemical traits with us at the cellular level, it is immoral to “decapitate” a wildflower. (I kid you not!)

 One canton in Switzerland assigns a lawyer to represent animals. One such lawyer sued a fisherman on behalf of a client that became dinner, for taking to long to reel in the fish.

 A GMO researcher, seeking to find a way to prevent fungus from spoiling wheat, could only obtain government financing when he asserted that the research would be beneficial for the wheat.

 The country has outlawed flushing a living goldfish down the toilet.

Some might say, what’s wrong with alleviating suffering? Of plants! But again, never mind.

The point is that this great concern does not exist when it comes to protecting the lives of suicidal, sick, disabled, and mentally ill people.

Switzerland allows “suicide tourism,” through which locals and foreigners attend suicide clinics that charge thousands of dollars to make their clients dead — including joint suicides of elderly couples and an Italian elderly woman despairing over lost looks. The Swiss Supreme Court has declared a constitutional right to assisted suicide for the mentally ill.

Switzerland’s enshrining of “plant dignity” into law, its outlawing the boiling of lobsters and the flushing of goldfish, and its blithe abandonment of the despairing to extinction in suicide clinics are symptomatic of our fast-eroding ability in the West to think critically and to distinguish serious from lesser ethical concerns.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.


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16 Responses to Switzerland Outlaws Boiling Lobsters Because They Feel Pain

  1. Mary in ND says:

    Boil all lawyers as they feel nothing

  2. BMF says:

    I doubt that animals as simple as lobsters have the ability to experience suffering. But in the absence of certainty about that, I see nothing wrong with taking simple measures, such as stunning them with electricity before boiling, to ensure that their deaths are humane.

    *** The point is that this great concern does not exist when it comes to protecting the lives of suicidal, sick, disabled, and mentally ill people. ***

    One can absolutely be concerned about such things and also seek to prevent animal suffering as well. They aren’t mutually exclusive, even if the policies of some countries show skewed priorities.

  3. Jolly Roger says:

    “…..given that they don’t have brains to process stimuli…..”

    He’s kidding about this, right? Even an insect has to process stimuli (withdraw from fire, etc.) to survive.

    Of course they feel pain. Just throw a live lobster into a pot of boiling water and you’ll hear the goddamn thing scream.

    I’m not saying that’s reason to stop eating them, just that I think they do suffer a bit before they become an excellent dinner. Dipped in butter, and knocked back with a good vodka on the rocks.

  4. galen says:

    I’m probably the only vegetarian here. Can’t help it. The animals talk to me. Yeah, just like us they feel pain. I’m all for whatever can lessen that. I don’t interfere with anyone’s choices. Mostly it’s the inhumane factory farms that upset me. No humanity.

    I hope this hasn’t lost me any friends. We jus’ gots ta be who we is.


    • Jolly Roger says:

      Why would that cost you friends? I’m about 90% vegetarian and my dog definitely talks to me. (and I haven’t had a good lobster dinner, or vodka, in many years).

      I tried being a complete vegetarian and it never felt right. I need a little animal protein, so I get it from chicken and turkey. I don’t think there’s one diet that’s good for all people, but instead our ancestry plays a part in deciding what’s best for us to eat. My ancestors lived almost exclusively on reindeer meat (Finns), so that may be why I can’t go 100% veggie. If your ancestors hailed from warmer climates, veggies alone may be perfect for you.

      • galen says:

        Sometimes some vegetarians are seen as zealots regarding their diet, pushing it on others or guilt-tripping them. That’s what I was meaning. Not all vegetarians are that way. Just wanted to clarify.

        Thanks, Jolly, and yes, me hail from warmer climate.



    • Enemy of the State says:

      My Wife holds the same beliefs as you do , shes also a vegetarian
      there was also a very good plus side to her becoming a Veg. it helped her gut immensely
      Shes from Peru’ and not subjected to all the additives in her food in her native country..once here she developed many stomach issues
      so it ended up becoming a 2 for 1 plus on her health making the Veg. choice for her diet
      her only reason for changing was the “humanity” angle you mentioned..the help to her gut issues just became a plus

      wont lose me as a friend over your choice of food ..

    • mary in ND says:

      I’m your forever sister galen

    • mary in ND says:

      galen, if people are eating commercially raised meat, farm raised fish, and jooo owned slaughterhouse sausage they could benefit greatly by going vegetarian

      • Henry Shivley says:

        My only meat intake consists of Chinese political dissidents from Walmart.
        I guess that would be commercially raised, though I don’t believe it is kosher.

  5. Enemy of the State says:

    As their pigs shoot people

  6. flee says:

    I stopped eating lobster….

    When I found out they were related to cockroaches.

    Although I do have to say…

    A surf and turf meal was delicious.

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