GOULDSBORO — Consider the lobster.
Or, for animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) consider the lobster being dismembered.
PETA has lodged a complaint alleging incidents of animal cruelty at a Prospect Harbor lobster processing plant.
The complaint, sent to the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office and Gouldsboro Police Chief Tyler Dunbar, was accompanied by an undercover video that PETA says was filmed at the Maine Fair Trade Lobster plant on Oct. 1 of this year.
The footage shows the crustaceans being dismembered, while various sections, including the legs, antennae or tails still show signs of movement. Fair Trade’s standard operating procedure, according to the complaint by PETA, both “mutilates and tortures fully conscious lobsters, causing them unjustifiable pain and suffering by tearing off their claws, puncturing their shells, and ripping their abdomens and tails from their heads, all of which the animals typically survive,” as well as “leaves lobsters to die slowly as their body parts are processed or collected to be thrown away.”
PETA posted some of the footage, edited together with footage shot in 2013 at two other lobster processing plants in Maine, on its website.
“The department received a written complaint from PETA about Maine Fair Trade,” Dunbar wrote. “The complaint was forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review. The department is not investigating any further pending the decision of the district attorney.”
The Hancock County District Attorney’s Office has indicated that it will review the case, but no decision on a response has been made. Maine Fair Trade Lobster is aware of the complaint, however spokespeople for the company had not responded to The Ellsworth American at the time publication.
While lobsters lack a complex nervous system, PETA’s complaint states that some European scientists have suggested that the crustaceans can, in fact, feel pain. PETA also notes alternative methods for killing lobsters that are already in use. Richmond-based Shucks Maine Lobster kills its lobster with a high pressure jet of water dubbed the “Big Mother Shucker” for instance, while Whole Foods’ Portland location uses an electro-stunning device called the CrustaStun.