Animal rights group lobbies grocery store to stop 'heartbreaking' practice of selling live lobsters

The group wrote a list of demands, which included setting up a meeting to talk about what it would take for Superstore to stop selling live lobsters. 

Manitoba Animal Save members gathered with signs at Unicity Superstore on Saturday

Winnipeg animal rights groups lobbied for lobsters and delivered a letter to a store manager asking that plant-based alternatives be considered instead. (Danae Tonge)

Animal rights activists planned a silent protest next to the lobster tanks at a Winnipeg grocery store Saturday afternoon to urge the store's managers to phase out selling live crustaceans.

"It's heartbreaking," said Manitoba Animal Save organizer Danae Tonge. "The lobsters have clamps or rubber bands around them, so they're being contained in a really unnatural way in these tanks."

The group wrote a list of demands to present to the manager of Superstore on Portage Avenue. The list included wanting to set up a meeting to talk about what it would take for the store to stop selling live lobsters. 

"The fact that they're being sold for food is really cruel and inhumane," said Tonge. "Lobsters can live for 100 years in the wild."

She said the crustaceans are often boiled alive when they're cooked, which research has suggested is painful for them. Tonge said the group is also worried about the lobsters being starved and piled on top of each other inside dirty tanks. 

"Lobsters are solitary creatures that want to be alone, and they want to be kind of roaming around on their own," she said.

"They don't want to be in a crowded sort of tank with other lobsters. That's really stressful for them."

Tonge said the group also wants the store to commit to phase out the lobsters by August, move toward selling more plant-based fish substitutes instead of seafood and allow activists to demonstrate in front of the lobster tanks for 10 minutes every month.

The animal rights group says the conditions that lobsters are kept in at grocery stores are unacceptable. (Danae Tonge)