How To: Kill A Lobster In A Humane Way

I know I’m probably going to get some crazy comments on this article, but this is a topic that has strangely become important to me. I love to eat meat and until very recently I could never ever imagine being a vegetarian.

Aside from chicken wings, one of my favorite things to eat is lobster. As you know, in order for lobster to be yummy, you have to buy them when they are alive and then kill them during the cooking process.

I always place the lobsters in the kitchen sink while I boil the water. I see their big eyeballs staring at me, and sometimes my son will give them names, which makes this whole situation worse. Every time I drop them in the boiling water I cry for a moment because I see them flap around, until they are suddenly still, and dead. I took the picture above as I watched them cook.

I am an animal lover. All the meat I eat comes from an animal that has lost his life so I can consume him. Am I a hypocrite for feeling this way and also eating meat? Probably. I realize we are at the top of the food chain, but isn’t there a moral obligation to lessen the pain for the animals we kill? After all, we are supposed to be of a higher consciousness, right?

With lobsters, I’m making a stand. I have found a new way to kill them, and it is more humane. Although, it feels like a contradiction to use the word kill and humane in the same sentence. According to, this is the way to do it humanely, “Before boiling water, place the lobster in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes to slow its metabolism and dull its senses, then flip it over and split the main body section of the animal in half with the swift stroke of a large kitchen knife.”

What do you think? Am I just being emotional or do you feel the same way? Trust me, I love meat too much to stop eating it, perhaps I’m just trying to find a way to lessen my own guilt about it. I found this video made by Eric Ripert, of famous Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City and he demonstrates this more humane method here:


  • comment-avatar
    Kay 9 years

    He should have waited a minute or so until the lobster was no longer moving to rip the claws and tail off. Not very considerate after all that talk.

  • comment-avatar
    Ariel rose 9 years

    Thank you for showing an ounce of decency. Mostly I feel like I am sharing this planet with neanderthals that can only think about whats next to put in their tummies, seeing everything as food, instead of living, sentient, feeling beings who express themselves with joy, sadness, fear and pain. Although there is a long way to go, to see value in other life forms, your caring about one of the most disgusting of human habits, boiling lobsters alive, is a great start to feeling compassion.

    Thank you.
    I sincerely encourage to continue your journey to feeling compassion for others.

  • comment-avatar

    To Kay: cutting the lobster kills it instantly. The movements you see is just signals from the nervous system. It was not alive/conscious.

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    Joan 8 years

    With the sharp edge of a knife facing away from the tail, drive the tip between the eyes and quickly slice down splitting the head in two. This severs the major nerve cluster and should kill the lobster instantly. To say movement after “death” is just from nerve spasms is not always accurate and, I believe, is often just a way to ease one’s mind. Err on the most humane side.
    If a person prefers to boil a live lobster, consider three important points: 1) use very salted water at a rolling boil; 2) ensure the lobster goes in head first; and 3) let the water come back up to a rolling boil before adding another lobster.