Environment Secretary Michael Gove may ban the boiling of live lobsters, according to an unnamed Conservative source.
Gove is reportedly planning to launch a consultation on this issue.
The source told The Mirror: "It's Michael’s latest crusade to woo the luvvies in his blatant leadership bid. He's desperate to look like a planet-hugging animal lover, but his foodie friends are going to be furious."
A source for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [Defra] said that the Government is 'committed to the very highest standards of animal welfare' - and has recently introduced a raft of welfare legislation including making CCTV mandatory in English slaughterhouses.
With regards to lobster issue, they added: "This is an issue the Government is considering."
If a ban were to be implemented, it would follow similar legislation in Switzerland, New Zealand, and the Italian region of Reggio Emilia - all of which say lobsters must be stunned before they are cooked.
Welcoming the move
Welfarists have welcomed a proposed ban. Maisie Tomlinson, Campaign Director of Crustacean Compassion, said she was 'looking forward to further engagement with the Government in tackling this long-neglected animal welfare issue'.
She added: "We welcome the Government's intervention on this matter and we hope that the consultation concludes that decapod crustaceans should be subject to the same animal welfare protections as vertebrate animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
"This certainly would include welfare at the time of killing, as many of the ways in which decapods are currently slaughtered are abhorrent. We also, however, urge tighter regulations on how decapods are kept whilst waiting for slaughter."