In an attempt to reduce the pain she believes lobsters experience when being cooked, a Maine chef has started using weed to try to help the crustaceans relax before their untimely deaths. The owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound claims, “It is far more humane to make it a kinder passage.” The restaurant says it has perfected the technique to ensure that no residual cannabis gets into the meat.
Whether or not lobsters experience pain while being boiled alive for human consumption is, surprisingly, still up for debate. A recent review of the scientific research on this topic, published in ICES Journal of Marine Science, concluded that while there were studies that concluded pain is felt, they had flaws and the evidence was lacking. Even the researcher who first published evidence that crustaceans feel pain has said the evidence isn’t conclusive.
A restaurant in the US, however, is taking another approach to being merciful: It gets the crustaceans stoned before steaming them alive.
“The animal is already going to be killed,” Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in the Maine island town of Southwest Harbor, said. “It is far more humane to make it a kinder passage.”
The idea is that the creature, fresh from having marijuana smoke pumped into its water, is sedated to the point it feels far less pain while being cooked.
The restaurant says it has perfected the technique this year — partly to ensure no residual cannabis gets into the meat — and hopes all customers will go for “stoned and steamed” over “boiled” next season.
“I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy,” Gill told the Mount Desert Islander website. “It’s a unique place and you get to do such unique things but at the expense of this little creature. I’ve really been trying to figure out how to make it better.”
In other parts of the world, where boiling alive is outlawed, electrocution or stabbing through the brain are used to kill the animals ahead of cooking.
But Gill did not fancy either of those.
“These are both horrible options — if we’re going to take a life we have a responsibility to do it as humanely as possible,” she said before adding that, in any case, a happier lobster was a tastier lobster.
“The difference it makes within the meat itself is unbelievable,” she said. “Everything you put into your body is energy. If we’re going to take a life we have a responsibility to do it as humanely as possible,”
Marijuana is legal in Maine and Ms Gill has a license to grow and supply it for medical purposes.