The Swiss government banned restaurateurs Wednesday from throwing lobsters into boiling water while they were still alive, amid concerns that crustaceans feel pain during the common culinary practice.
The law, which dictates that live lobster and crayfish must be stunned before killing, was passed by the Federal Council on Wednesday and it will come into effect on March 1.
“Live crustaceans, including the lobster, may no longer be transported on ice or in ice water. Aquatic species must always be kept in their natural environment. Crustaceans must now be stunned before killing them,” the new rules say, Reuters reports.
The new laws have raised the hackles of restaurant owners who say they will have to retrofit their kitchens to accommodate the new practice, Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports.
A host of other animal protection rules are included in the new regulations, including the banning of devices that punish dogs for barking, new rules on the size of pet cages and a decree that says guinea pigs, rabbits and chicks are no longer allowed to be put on display in zoos.
Switzerland follows its neighbor Italy with changes to lobster storage regulations. An Italian court ruled last June that lobsters cannot be kept on ice in restaurant kitchens because it causes them undue suffering.
“While the particular method of cooking can be considered legal by recognizing that it is commonly used, the suffering caused by detaining the animals while they wait to be cooked cannot be justified in that way,” the judges wrote.