Crustastun, proudly manufactured by Mitchell & Cooper, is a revolutionary appliance created specifically to humanely stun crustaceans. Developed as an alternative to traditional methods of killing lobster, crayfish and crab, the Crustastun is recognised as the only humane method of stunning crustaceans ready for cooking.
As diners have become more aware of, and increasingly concerned with, the treatment of animals and the slaughter methods used within the food industry, the need for humane and fair practices has never been greater. As evidence that crustaceans can feel pain has grown, so too have calls for traditional cooking methods, such as boiling, to be classed as inhumane and made illegal. Switzerland recently became the first country to ban the boiling of live lobsters, whilst animal welfare organisations such as Crustacean Compassion are campaigning for better treatment of crustaceans in the UK.
Crustastun is recognised by a number of leading welfare groups, including the RSPCA, as a humane and swift method of stunning crustaceans. Compared to boiling, which can take up to three minutes to kill even a small lobster, and cutting the animal in half which is unreliable, Crustastun interrupts the nerve function of the animal within half a second, meaning the shellfish can not feel pain. The animal is also killed in under 10 seconds, making it a dramatically quicker process compared to existing methods.
HOW DOES THE CRUSTASTUN WORK?
The premise of Crustastun is straightforward. The lid of the unit contains an electrode and a damp electrode sponge. The base of the unit contains a tank of salt water, with another electrode.
The animal is placed belly down on a sprung tray in the unit. As the lid is closed, the shellfish and tray are pushed down by the electrode sponge into the saline solution. The operator then presses one of the stun buttons on the front of the machine and a current passes through the 13 brain centres of a lobster, or the two brain centres of a crab.
The stun current works by instantly interrupting the nerve function, so that the shellfish cannot receive stimuli and therefore cannot feel pain. This takes less than half a second. The prolonged application of the stun, for up to ten seconds, kills it.
|This method has been researched by Dr David Robb of Bristol University, UK. Dr Robb has scientifically established that a current of 1–1.3 amps, applied for five to ten seconds, is required to stun and kill a shellfish. Crustastun uses a typical current of 4–6 amps to ensure that shellfish die quickly, with an absolute minimum of distress.
The electro-stunning technique is in stark contrast to killing methods such as freshwater drowning, where a crab can take 12 hours to die, depending on water temperature. During this time the animals produce stress hormones such as cortisol, which adversely affect meat quality. Crabs and lobsters dispatched using Crustastun produce meat of noticeably better taste and texture.