Duchess Of Hamilton Calls For Legal Protection For Sea Life

Renowned Animal Defender Petitions Scottish Parliament to Include Crustaceans, Cephalods as ‘Animals’ in Pending Legislation

For Immediate Release:
13 February 2006

Yvonne Taylor 020 7357 9229, ext 405
Karen Chisholm 020 7357 9229, ext 229

Edinburgh – This Wednesday, on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), every member of the Scottish Parliament can expect to receive a personalised letter from a distinguished peer, namely, the Duchess of Hamilton. The Duchess is urging all MSPs to support calls to include decapod crustaceans and cephalods – including lobsters, crabs and octopuses – under the definition of “animals” in the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill which is currently before the Scottish Parliament. If the change is implemented, it would mean, among other things, that it would be illegal to boil lobsters while they are still alive.

Why does boiling these animals alive make the Duchess hot under the collar?

• The latest research shows that in addition to having the necessary parts of the brain to feel pain, decapod crustaceans and cephalopods possess very sensitive pain receptors.
• Crustaceans and cephalopods respond to threats of pain in ways similar to how mammals do. Lobsters recoil from danger and struggle to escape from pots of boiling water.
• Dr Lauritz Sømme, advisor to the Norwegian government, determined that lobsters have the ability to learn new tasks and remember past acquaintances and environments.
• In December 2005, the European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare concluded that lobsters, crabs and octopuses are all capable of experiencing pain and distress and are worthy of legislative protection.

“Surely we can all agree that boiling any conscious animal to death is barbaric and should be illegal; this legislation, which is long overdue, deserves your support”, writes the Duchess.
This isn’t the first time the Duchess has teamed up with PETA to help animals. In 2004, she hosted a delicious Christmas feast featuring a turkey – not as a dish but as an honoured guest. She has also campaigned to save the Uist hedgehogs and has taken a public stance against the cruel foie gras industry by refusing to do business with Edinburgh’s Jenners department store.
For more information, please visit our Web site PETA.org.uk. The Duchess’ letter to MSPs is available upon request.