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The lobster's blood, or life fluid, flows almost randomly through the body spaces...Any large incision made in the shell allows the liquid to drain out (it forms a pale blue clot); the lobster then slowly suffocates because the main function of this fluid is to transport oxygen around to body tissues. Thus, plunging a knife between the eyes is slow suffocation, as is plunging a knife in the back where tail joins chest. This last is not only slow suffocation, but, worse, it severs the intestine, dumping its contents over the t ail meat.
The only knife work that can be effective is plunging it in inch across the underside, close to the chest; this severs the spinal cord and kills the lobster, as well as draining out its life fluid.
Many humanitarians, including for a while the International Society for the Protection of Animals, have been under the delusion that setting lobsters in cold water and bringing them slowly to the boil was the kindest treatment. NO! This, again, is slow suffocation plus death by drowning.
The most humane way to deal with live lobsters is to plunge them head first and upside down into boiling water. Since their circulatory functions are centered at the back of the head, they die within a few seconds. Then, if you are to cut up the lobsters before proceeding to cooking, remove them in about a minute, when limp. Otherwise, continue to boil them for the amount of time specified in the recipe.
Beat This! by Ann Hodgman ISBN 1-881527-21-2 pg 129-130 Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 03-18-95