A LITTLE more kindness in the world wouldn’t go astray. With that in mind, I recently asked SPCA New Zealand what was the most humane way to kill a crayfish.

Their science team responded. “Increasingly, science has demonstrated crustacean sentience; these animals can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress. This places a duty on humans to ensure that our treatment of crustaceans is as humane as possible.”

SPCA advocates that crustaceans only be killed after they have been humanely stunned.

Electrical stunning devices such as the CrustaStun, or a suitable food-grade anaesthesia such as AQUI-S, a clove oil-based product that has been approved for use in New Zealand, are the only methods that have been scientifically demonstrated to result in a humane stunning for crustaceans.

When used correctly, electrical stunning can humanely kill crustaceans at high enough voltage or can humanely first stun crustaceans at lower voltage. If the animal has only been stunned by using an electrical stunning device or anaesthesia, a mechanical method of killing that destroys the crustaceans’ chain of ganglia (their central nervous system), such as splitting needs to follow immediately.

SPCA opposes the use of inhumane methods to stun or kill crustaceans. Spiking, splitting, and high pressure killing of conscious crustaceans do not lead to immediate death and are likely to cause distress.

Crustaceans should never be gutted, filleted, frozen or subjected to any other form of processing while still conscious.

It is not humane to boil crustaceans alive. Boiling, gassing with carbon dioxide, or “drowning” in fresh water are not considered humane methods of stunning or killing crustaceans.

SPCA does not support the chilling in air or on ice as methods to render crustaceans unconscious due to the time taken for the animals to lose consciousness and the possible pain prior to this point.

AQUI-S is a much more humane and easier method of rendering crustaceans unconscious.

New regulations that began in October 2018, stipulate that anyone killing crustaceans for commercial purposes must render the animals fully unconscious before slaughter.

Infringement of the new law risks a large fine.

Animal welfare
by Carey Conn