An old debate is once again raging: To cook lobster with or without the rubber bands?

The latest chapter of the debate was sparked by a photo posted to a popular Nova Scotia Facebook group of a pile of cooked lobsters, most with the bands still on their claws. 

The poster say they've been boiling the crustaceans with bands on the claws for years, with no negative impact on the taste. Other members of the We Love Nova Scotia Facebook group strongly disagreed.

"I can't eat it with band on," said one. "Can DEF taste it, it's strong like poison."

However another poster pointed to a 1998 study by the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine that concluded the rubber bands didn't make a difference in the taste. 

As of this writing, more than 500 people have liked the photo, and nearly 100 people have weighed in on the comments with both the pro- and anti-rubber band camps well-represented.

So Mainstreet turned to some Nova Scotian experts for the final say: Bands on or off?
"I definitely remove the bands before cooking my lobster," wrote Chives chef and cookbook author Craig Flinn in an email to Mainstreet

"I do feel that most people couldn't probably tell the difference in a blind taste test, including me. I simply do not like the idea of boiling rubber with my food. But I certainly would happily eat any Nova Scotia lobster, band on the run or otherwise." 

Chef Vince Scigliano at Halifax's Lion & Bright has been cooking with seafood for 14 years. His opinion is the rubber bands should be removed to show respect for the animal and the process of preparing it. 

"You should have to work for it," he says. "You should respect your food, what you're putting into your body, and  ... you should have a connection with your protein before you cook it." 

What's your take on rubber bands and lobster cooking? Tell us in the comments below.