PETA appreciates District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau’s thoughtful examination of Maine’s anti-cruelty law for animals, but respectfully asks that he reconsider his analysis.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals believes basic rules of statutory construction dictate that the statute, which applies to “sentient” animals, unequivocally applies to the lobsters and crabs being mutilated and tortured by workers at Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster.

Maine law makes clear that when a word’s plain meaning is unambiguous a review of the legislative history is both unnecessary and improper. As PETA’s evidence amply shows, lobsters and crabs feel every agonizing second of having their legs, shells and heads ripped off their bodies, as occurs at Bean’s facility.

The legislators who limited the anti-cruelty law’s effect to “sentient” animals in 1973 could not be privy to today’s ample scientific evidence that lobsters and crabs feel pain or the fact that quicker, less-cruel slaughter methods, such as electric stunners and hydrostatic pressure, both of which are used in Maine, make all the suffering documented at Bean’s facility particularly unnecessary.

The D.A.’s distinction between vertebrates and invertebrates is irrelevant. Although other statutory provisions exist that are specific to vertebrate species, this in no way precludes the application of Maine’s anti-cruelty law to intentionally mutilating invertebrates and failing to kill them instantaneously.


Amanda Schwoerke, counsel

PETA Foundation

Washington, D.C.

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