On 3rd January 2023, photos taken inside one of the supermarket chain’s stores Delhaize in Asse, Flemish Brabant, Belgium, showing live lobsters being sold in small dry plastic containers on New Year’s Eve, were published by the group Animal Rights. According to the activist that took the photos, many of the lobsters, crustaceans recognised as sentient beings in several jurisdictions, remained unsold inside the same plastic containers two days later.
Els Van Campenhout, Animal Rights Campaign Coordinator, said: “Animal Rights finds it barbaric that such horrific scenes take place in our country in 2023…We ask Delhaize to immediately stop selling live lobsters. In addition, we ask Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare [Ben] Weyts to completely ban the sale of live crustaceans… Once the lobsters are bought and end up in people’s homes, people basically do whatever they want with them. If the lobsters are thrown alive into boiling water or cut in half alive, this basically amounts to torture until when the animals die. It is outrageous to lock up living beings in plastic packaging and be able to kill the animals at home without any supervision.”
Delhaize has said it currently has no plans to stop selling live lobsters. A spokesman for the chain claimed that the company obeys all animal welfare laws and that its lobsters are maintained and sold “in the most optimal conditions“. Naturally, in a speciesist human-centric society, “optimal conditions” mean for the humans, not the non-human animals sold, as torturing lobsters in this way makes it less likely that people eating them later will suffer from food poisoning. Whether they are sold alive or dead, selling animals is an unnecessary cruel activity that causes suffering to everyone involved, so moving away from this primitive trade and building the vegan world is the only sensible option.