Humane Ways to Kill Lobsters


The lobster, which belongs to the phylum Arthropoda, offers succulent and tasty meat when cooked. How to dispatch of a lobster humanely prior to cooking, however, can cause grief. Certain techniques are much faster and more humane than others. Fortify yourself with a glass of wine prior to prepping the lobster, and remember to keep the rubber bands on its claws in case it decides to take its last revenge.

Splitting the Nerves

  • To instantly kill a lobster, you can sever the nerves located within its head. To accomplish this, lay the lobster on a cutting board and grasp its tail firmly. Place the tip of a 10-inch chef's knife an inch from the lobster's eyes, with the blade facing away from the lobster's tail, recommends the Lobsters with Laura website. Drive the blade into the lobster's head and quickly bring your knife forward in a slicing motion between the lobster's eyes.


  • Prior to cooking a lobster, you can chill it for 30 to 60 minutes to help desensitize the lobster, suggests the Sydney Fish Market. Temperatures should be below 39 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celcius, asserts the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Then you can either split the nerves of the lobster or place it directly in a rolling, boiling pot of water.


  • You may assume that placing a lobster in a cooking pot full of freshwater is a humane way of killing it. This is incorrect. The submersion of crustaceans into fresh water will cause the animal to die from osmotic shock, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Essentially, the animal will lose salts from its blood as it absorbs freshwater into its cells. As a result, a lobster's cells will burst, resulting in a slow, instead of quick, death.

Things to Avoid

  • One of the most inhumane ways to dispatch of a lobster is to severe its thorax from its abdomen, as this will not instantly kill the animal. Placing a lobster in a pot of cold water and bringing the water to a boil will not kill the lobster quickly either. While the cold water can lull a lobster to sleep, once the water begins to boil, it will begin to flap its tail, an escape response.

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