A researcher in animal behaviour recommends people kill their lobsters before cooking them, after extensive research suggests crustaceans can feel pain.

Robert Elwood, professor emeritus of animal behaviour at Queen's University in Northern Ireland, has spent more than a decade researching the issue.

"They show all indicators of it being pain, so although I can't say if lobsters experience pain ... there's always an element of doubt," Elwood said.

"None of this is a reflex and it's all consistent with the idea of pain."

This comes after the Swiss government banned boiling lobsters and other crustaceans alive, a move Elwood supports.

"It takes at least a minute to boil a large lobster to death," he said.

How to kill them 'in a second'

For those wanting to show some compassion to the critters before cooking them, Elwood assures people there's an easy way to kill them "in a second."

Before boiling them, Elwood recommends using a big knife with a sharp point.

"Put it between the eyes on the head and plunge the knife in firmly, and then bring the blade of the knife down so it's parallel to the work surface," he said.

A large cut right at the top of the head will destroy the brain and would be enough to kill the lobster, according to Elwood.

"The knife goes in vertically but then you bring it down, and that should do it."

It's a little action that Elwood said will go a long way in easing any suffering for the crustacean that might end up on the dinner plate.