While killing lobster is not a task I relish, I do appreciate the opportunity to be conscious of and in control of how an animal protein I am about to consume transitions from life into a form of nourishment. Just like so many other people, I casually purchase and cook chicken, beef, pork and fish with little thought for that protein as a former living animal or question of how that animal met its end. Cooking lobster is an opportunity for me to reflect on the food chain and how food gets from ocean to table. It also offers me a rare chance to ensure a protein source I’m eating is killed humanely. Here are my thoughts and recommendations on how to kill a lobster humanely.
How to Kill A Lobster Humanely
Stabbing. Possibly the quickest and most humane method for killing lobster is to flip it over so it’s legs are facing upwards then stab it with a knife right below the eyes / above the legs. Be sure to use a large, sharp knife and to plunge that knife in quickly and deeply. If you do so, the lobster should die instantly.
Steaming. My mother’s method was to incorporate the killing into the cooking process. She would put on an oven mitt, pick up the lobster by the carapace and hold it nose down in her pot of steaming water. After inhaling the steam for several seconds, the lobster would die. I don’t prefer this method if I am cooking more than three lobsters as there is not enough room in most cooking pots to do it properly for all the lobsters.
Chilling. The lobster institute recommends chilling lobster in a freezer before killing it to put it to sleep.
While some people argue that lobsters don’t feel pain because they have no brain and only a very simple nervous system, it is impossible for us humans to know what they experience. I do not recommend simply throwing live lobsters into a pot of boiling water.
I am a believer in what Ghandi said – that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Yes, I am a meat eater. Sadly, I don’t often question how humanely most of my protein sources have met their end. Cooking lobster gives me a rare chance to be more aware of what it means to be a carnivore and to ensure some of the protein I’m eating is killed humanely.