A new vegan advocacy group dedicated to liberating lobsters is challenging people's views on crustaceans' sentience.
Crustacean Liberation - which is based in Florida, U.S. - rescues animals like lobsters, crabs and shrimp, and sets them free.
The launch of the liberation group coincided with the start of Florida's lobster season on August 6, led by Robbie Ruderman of Miami.
Ruderman's group is committed to 'liberating crustaceans from the unspeakable pain and torture of being mutilated, dismembered, and boiled alive, all while fully conscious'.
"It is essential to our mission to educate the public about the cruel plight of these sentient beings and encourage consumers to leave these animals off their plates," Ruderman told PBN.
The activists aim to expose and debunk the enduring myth that crustaceans do not feel pain.
Calling it 'the epitome of pseudoscience', Ruderman believes the myth prevails largely because of corporate research agendas.
Crustaceans have a complex nervous system, and, like all animals who have nerves, crustaceans feel pain.
Evidence shows that crustaceans release stress hormones in response to painful events. Since they don't have the ability to go into shock when experiencing acute suffering, they will feel excruciating pain until their nervous system is completely fried.
"The pain they endure while being boiled alive is so severe that is almost certainly beyond our mental capacity to comprehend," adds Ruderman.
It will take anywhere from two-15 minutes for them to die.
They also suffer in other ways - when transported alive to restaurants, their claws must be banded shut in order to prevent them from attacking each other.
Crustacean Liberation's ambition is to set these animals free, while raising awareness of the cruel and barbaric treatment they face.
They have built their movement around social media, which they believe will allow them to make people think twice about having lobster on their plate.
"Animal activism can be an exhausting and frustrating endeavor," said the group leader.
But rescuing crustaceans has proved to be 'a life-saving and life-affirming endeavor', and 'a new, exciting, dynamic form of activism', he told Plant Based News.
Ruderman went on to say that "Crustacean liberations are powerful, positive experiences bursting with joy, compassion, and inspiration."
The group has seen a fantastic response, with participation and support continuing to grow.
As the movement expands, the vegan activism group expects the demand for crustaceans to gradually decline.
The numbers are truly staggering when it comes to the consumption of crustaceans - in the United States, the average person eats 130 shellfish a year.
Crustacean Liberation believes their rescuing has a strong and universal appeal that will engage people from all walks of life.
"We believe that we are strongly and uniquely positioned to effect momentous change for crustaceans."