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Seafood Company in Australia Convicted for 'Brutally' Killing Lobster

Mar 13, 2017 07:18 AM EDT

A seafood shop in Sydney, Australia called Nicholas Seafoods has been convicted after inappropriately killing a lobster.

The Nicholas Seafoods was charged with animal cruelty after Australia's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) reportedly observed employees dismembering and butchering lobsters with a bandsaw, an act, which was found to be in breach of the New South Wales Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Under the laws of the New South Wales, crustaceans were granted protection in 1997, after the authorities argued that they are capable of feeling pain.

As reported by Fox News, there is a provision which mentions how crustaceans should be killed for consumption. The report said they should be "immersed in a salt water/ice slurry for a minimum of 20 minutes" before they're butchered, or they can be sliced from top to bottom to destroy their nerve centers and make them unable to feel the pain.

According to RSPCA, Nicholas Seafoods did not follow these guidelines as they saw them separating lobsters' tails from their bodies while they were still alive.

"When you look at the guidelines it's pretty black and white and none of it was followed in this instance. It's quite uncommon for us to get calls about lobsters, I would say most restaurants are aware of these guidelines and hopefully adhere to them," RSPCA inspectorTyson Hohlein told Sydney's Downing Centre court on Tuesday, as quoted by The Guardian.

The company, located at the Sydney Fish Market, pleaded guilty and they've agreed to pay a $1,500 fine.

Meanwhile, in the United States, fish, crustaceans and chickens are not given these legal protections.

Washington Post notes that protection of animal species seems primarily based on our cultural associations and practices. The website cites dog as one of the most protected animal species because they are mostly adored by us and we treat them as families, while fish and crustaceans are basically considered "none" to us than food.

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