One of the biggest Australian seafood stores in Sydney pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after a staff member butchered a lobster.
Nicholas Seafood received a $1,500 fine for committing an act of animal cruelty after an animal welfare group, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, took the store to the court and won the case, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The store got into hot water after a witness videoed a staff member back in January showing him butchering a lobster without trying to stun it to minimize suffering.
The footage shows the lobster struggling as the worker tries to butcher it. It remained alive after its tail was cut off, before being put through a band saw half a minute later.
The animal welfare group’s Inspector Tyson Hohlein said he attended the premises and find out that the fishmonger wasn’t aware of the “correct procedures”.
“I attended the business and spoke to the manager that was on at the time,” he said. “We were told that it was an isolated incident and the staff member who did it was not aware of correct procedures to euthanise.”
He also said that the director of the seafood said it was “unacceptable” and have now trained the workers to ensure the guidelines are being followed.
“The director has since seen the video and said it was unacceptable — their staff have now been trained and are aware of the guidelines that DPI put in place. It is not often we get jobs related to crustaceans, and I would say that most restaurants are obeying the law,” Hohlein said.
The case is the first crustacean conviction the animal welfare group has seen. Crustaceans were included in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1997 after it was proven that the animals can feel pain.