No More Boiling Crabs Alive

Target: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Goal: Require more humane approaches to the preparation of crabmeat

A recent study employed by researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast may show that crabs feel pain. If this finding is to dictate our future actions, then it would be wise to rethink how crabs are treated during food preparation.

As described by Time Magazine’s Bryan Walsh, the experiment was carried out as follows: “Ninety crabs were individually placed in a brightly lit area and were given the option of scuttling to one of two dark shelters. Once they’d made their choice, the crabs in one of the shelters were exposed to an electric shock. After a rest period, the crabs were returned to the lit tank. Most of the crabs went back into the dark shelters, and then the same crabs were given another electric shock. When they were placed back into the lit tank for the third time, the majority of the shocked crabs instead went to the alternative dark shelter, avoiding the one where they had repeatedly been shocked.”

Essentially, the crabs responded to the electrical shock by trying to resist and escape it. This may not necessarily be because of a specific sensation of “pain,” but in this instance, we should assume it is so. If an electrical pulse can elicit this sort of response, then being boiled alive seems likely to provoke shock to the system of the crab as well.

For many years, scientists and layman regarded the crab as a creature too biologically simple to feel pain. Whether this claim was produced from scientific means or was a socially convenient belief is unknown. Regardless, current evidence seems to negate this long-held perception.

We need a more humane way of preparing crab. We would never think to boil a cow or a pig alive, so it would be humane to apply this same logic to the treatment of crabs. Sign below to urge the EPA to implement new federal regulations that prohibit boiling crabs alive.


Dear Environmental Protection Agency,

Recent studies provide evidence that crabs can feel pain. We are not asking you to prohibit the consumption of crabs, but we are asking for legislation that regulates the food preparation of crabs.

Currently, crabs being prepared for consumption are subject to some of the most inhumane treatment possible. Crabs should no longer be boiled alive—no creature deserves this pain and torture.

Our empathetic sentiments are more easily extended to better looking, or larger animals (fellow mammals in particular), but that is a shortcoming of our own. Please pass regulations that prohibit boiling crabs alive.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Super Animal Blog

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. J Davidson says:

    This goes for all living beings, including all fish, shellfish and animals!!!

    • That is so totally true, it would be unnatural if animals would not feel pain and many other feelings/sensations as well. How would they survive otherwise without senses? If only people would realize this,and be mercyful…

  2. Patrice Mykytka says:

    Go vegan. You’ll be healthier!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


1038 Signatures

  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Richard Ohlendorf
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
  • Carole Mathews
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • Debbie Biere
  • Amy McKeon
1 of 104123...104
Skip to toolbar