UK government is considering a ban on boiling lobsters alive as part of its new Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
The once-popular culinary method of cooking lobsters and crabs alive has become increasingly controversial in the last few years.
Several countries, including Norway, New Zealand and Switzerland, have already banned the practice.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the government had commissioned a review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in lobsters and crabs to learn more about their capacity to suffer.
Many researchers suggest that lobsters—as well as other crustaceans—are sentient creatures that experience pain and stress.
Stephanie Yu, PhD notes, wrote in her report for Humane Society: "There exists robust scientific evidence in support of crustaceans being sentient animals with the capacity to suffer."
According to the report, putting alive lobster in boiling water "appears to cause physiological shock" to the creatures, who "struggle violently for approximately two minutes after being placed in boiling water before they stop moving."
The new bill is currently in the House of Lords and will extend its reach beyond lobsters. The law will also include crabs, squid, octopi, and other sentient shellfish species.
Under the new legislation, lobsters will have to be stunned or chilled before cooking. Shrink-wrap crustaceans, while they are still alive, will also be illegal.
Crustacean Compassion is an animal welfare organisation who has been campaigning to increase protection for lobsters and other sea species for years.
"At the time that the Act came into force, there was evidence that crustaceans were capable of feeling pain, but the file was slim," the group wrote on their website. "A clause was inserted that would allow for their inclusion at a later date if the science was convincing. Now [that] there is stronger and better evidence available there is no excuse."
The new bill, which was introduced to the parliament in May, was backed by Carrie Johnson and is supported by The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and British Veterinary Association.