Animal Aid


Posted 25 July 2003

Animal Aid is celebrating a significant victory with the announcement by wholesale store group, Makro, that it will no longer sell live lobsters in any of its 30 outlets across the UK. The decision follows an eight month campaign by the national animal protection group.

Animal Aid objected to the retailing of live lobsters because of the distress and suffering that such sales cause. Contrary to popular belief, scientific evidence indicates that lobsters do feel pain and stress. The lobsters in Makro have been kept crowded in tanks and piled on top of each other.

When the Norwich Evening News went undercover into a local store (May 28), its reporter was told by Makro staff that up to 15 lobsters are shipped in at a time and kept with their claws bound in a tank measuring about one metre long and half a metre wide. Some lobsters, it was acknowledged, died from shock before they even arrived at the store and others, who were unwanted, perished after spending as long as six to eight weeks in the tank.

Live animals are taken home and boiled alive. When placed into boiling water they behave wildly, whipping their tails and trying to escape. Death can take anything from 15 seconds up to seven minutes.

In a statement to an Animal Aid supporter, the store group wrote:

"Makro UK has made a decision not to continue to sell live lobsters in its stores. Stores that did stock live lobsters are currently clearing out of existing stocks."

Animal Aid contacted Makro for a direct statement, but the company has refused to comment.

Says Animal Aid Campaigns Officer, Becky Lilly:

"We are absolutely delighted that Makro has decided to end the sale of live lobsters in its stores. It was highly inappropriate for cash & carry units to be selling live creatures, and signified a lack of respect for life. We are relieved that Makro has decided to pay heed to its customers and is taking this positive step."


Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Charlton, Coventry, Croydon, Edinburgh, Enfield, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, North Acton, Norwich, Nottingham, Poole, Preston, Rayleigh, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke, Swansea, Teeside.

Animal Aid's Factfile detailing the plight of lobsters is available to the public free on request from Animal Aid, by telephoning 01732 354 032. It can also be downloaded here.

Notes to Editors

  • While lobsters do not have a centralised brain area like mammals, they do have large ganglia above and below the mouth - and smaller ganglia at each segment of the body. Scientific evidence indicates that these are likely to sense pain. Lobsters are intelligent creatures, with highly developed systems of smell and taste. They use complicated signals to determine any changes in their environment. In the wild they can live to be 100 years old.

  • For more information, call Andrew Tyler or Becky Lilly on 01732 364546.

  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast-quality interviews.

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