Conte, F., Voslarova, E., Vecerek, V. et al. 2021. Humane slaughter of edible decapod crustaceans. Animals 11(4), 1089.
Vast numbers of crustaceans are produced by aquaculture and caught in fisheries to meet the increasing demand for seafood and freshwater crustaceans. Simultaneously, the public is increasingly concerned about current methods employed in their handling and killing. Recent evidence has shown that decapod crustaceans probably have the capacity to suffer because they show responses consistent with pain and have a relatively complex cognitive capacity. For these reasons, they should receive protection. Despite the large numbers of crustaceans transported and slaughtered, legislation protecting their welfare, by using agreed, standardized methods, is lacking. We review various stunning and killing systems proposed for crustaceans, and assess welfare concerns. We suggest the use of methods least likely to cause suffering and call for the implementation of welfare guidelines covering the slaughter of these economically important animals.