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 Photos Xlarge Lobster11 Rgb 11-19-09
Tasering just isn’t for 10 year olds, a UK man invented a lobster zapper that some feel is more humane than just tossing them in boiling water. I would like to try this electric lobster they speak of. Looking at the photo, it looks like two big metal plates that “zap”. The company is called “CrustaStun”.

A company in the United Kingdom is about to lift the lid on a device that zaps lobster with electricity to kill them, and the inventor said Wednesday his humane alternative to boiling is about to give the entire industry a jolt.

British entrepreneur Simon Buckhaven said the CrustaStun system, developed over the past decade by his company Studham Technologies Limited, near London, kills the lobster with an electric charge, so the crustacean feels no “pain or distress.”

The application of a stun (110 Volts – 2-5 amps) causes an immediate interruption in the functioning of the nervous system of the shellfish. By interrupting the nerve function, the shellfish (be it Crab. Lobster or other) is unable to receive stimuli and thus by definition, cannot feel pain or suffer distress (Dr. Dave Robb 2000 – Bristol University – paper on sentience in Crustacea, Baker 1975, Jane Smith 1991, Bateson 2000, Sherwin 2000 & Gregory & Lumsden 2000). The prolonged application of the stun causes a permanent disruption which kills the shellfish.

Sounds tasty!

This isn’t the only lobster tech from Crustapreneurs…

 Wholeshucked-Copy

In short, Hathaway took the idea of providing people with pre-shucked lobster, researched it and found that the government had been looking for ways to extend the shelf life of foods without freezing or irradiation for years. He discovered there are only two companies in the world that make machines that use extremely high water pressure to process foods and give them extended shelf life. (The government applied that process to its MREs, or meals ready to eat, for the military.) About a year and a half ago, Hathaway learned that this process also separated shellfish meat from the shell and that several Canadian lobster processors were using this system. Hathaway came up with the money for a machine. He started the new business by qualifying for a block grant from the state (which had a matching fund) and through private investors. Then, instead of having an architect design a fancy, state-of-the-art building on the coast, he decided to go back to his roots. He took a space in the nearly empty, old Etonic sneakers factory in Richmond, a slightly down-at-the-heels river town in central Maine between Wiscasset and Augusta, an area with people needing work. In April 2006, he opened his new company, Shucks Maine Lobster.

Buckhaven, meet Hathaway.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. jiggy says:

    It’s a tasty bug. I don’t see the problem with throwing it in a pot of boiling water or, if preparing another way, bisecting its brain.

  2. voodoo says:

    A fast, free alternative to placing lobsters in the freezer to humanely kill them already exists – plunge the tip of a sharp knife straight down right behind the lobster’s eyes thereby rendering it instantly braindead. This method is pretty much industry standard practice.

    I think this zapper is another case of a solution going looking for a problem… (rather than a response to a genuine need)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lobsters do not have a nervous system.

    http://www.chow.com/stories/10466

    discuss.

    1. Anonymous says:

      that ‘study’ is by the Lobster Institute http://www.lobsterinstitute.org/ – offering a wine and lobster feast on their front page. i imagine they would have something to lose by suggesting lobsters are capable of feeling pain.

      have compassion. life is probably the single most rare thing in the universe. period.

      1. jiggy says:

        But it’s okay to kill ants, spiders, flies, wasps, or that-thing-that-looked-really-gross-that-you-had-no-idea-what-it was-but-it’s-a-bug-and-it’s-scary-looking so we might as well kill it just to be safe.

        It. Is. A. Bug.

        1. Zach says:

          Just because you’re afraid of it doesn’t mean that killing it is the correct action.

          The way to keep predators out of your house is to keep their prey out of your house. By doing so, only a very limited number of predators will enter in search of food or warmth.

          How do you keep the prey out? By not feeding them or housing them. Keep your home and anything you cook with or eat on reasonably clean, make sure food is not accessible, call an exterminator if you suspect an infestation of something you can’t remove on your own (and most people can’t).

          Sure, killing *pests* feels good (to most people). But again, creepy does not always mean evil.

          1. jiggy says:

            thanks for reinforcing my point?

            all i am saying is lobsters = bugs. tasty yummy bugs.

            why isn’t anyone clamoring for “humane” killing of flies or ants?

  4. Joel says:

    You could kick up the wattage and instantly cook the lobster with it. Tasty.

  5. Mike says:

    The knife behind the eyes method would probably kill a vertebrate, but would not necessarily render an invertebrate insensible. Invertebrates have a different nervous system to our own, but this does not mean that they do not have equivalents of both pain and distress. The taser seems likely to be able to kill them quickly and without distress and as such is an excellent idea.

  6. skdfh ksdhf says:

    Just an electric chair for lobsters with exactly the same problems. Who cares for lobsters? Come on! Please!

  7. c-dub says:

    Personally, I like the idea of treating animals I eat with some respect, so while this seems a bit silly, I applaud the effort.

    But on a technical note, why is that contraption so HUGE? I can’t imagine any commercial kitchen giving up that much precious space for a machine with such a narrow use. A Taser can generate something like 50,000 volts and at least a few milliamps, and that fits in your pocket. It seems to me you could come up with something that would dispatch a lobster and still fit on a small shelf.

  8. craig says:

    Wasn’t there a study where electrodes were attatched to a plant, detecting the tiny impulses of a plant’s electro-capulary system. When a person went to harm the plant or kill it, the plant showed ‘distress’. That proves it is inhumane to eat plants! They can’t get away or defend themselves. Animals have a fighting chance.
    Besides, it’s the pain and suffering of the lobster that makes it… Oh, so tasty. And asparagus that screams when snapped at the base… succulent!

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