Your recent editorial “Our View: Maine lobster fishery doesn’t need a lecture on ethics from PETA” (August 2) misses the point of PETA’s “I’m ME, Not Meat” lobster ad. Every year, millions of lobsters suffer needlessly for our dinner tables – that’s undeniable – and that’s why PETA is asking visitors to Maine to choose humane vegan meals instead.

The lobster industry likes to point out that lobsters don’t have a central nervous system, but that’s no indication that they don’t feel pain. In fact, because lobsters have ganglia, or masses of nervous tissue, spread throughout their bodies, they may feel even more pain than we would in similar situations. A lobster that is boiled alive undoubtedly feels every moment of its agonizingly slow death.

Dr. Robert W. Elwood, a leading authority on the subject of pain in crustaceans, says, “With vertebrates, we are asked to err on the side of caution and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans.”

In other countries, lawmakers are starting to take these findings into account and are implementing increased protections for lobsters. In January, Switzerland banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive without stunning them first.

Last year, Italy’s highest court ruled that restaurant kitchens must not keep live lobsters on ice because it causes unjustifiable suffering.

Lobsters are also protected under animal welfare laws in Norway, New Zealand and some Australian states.

Until the U.S. follows suit, we can all spare these sentient animals the agony of being boiled alive simply by choosing vegan meals.

Heather Rally, DVM

Supervising veterinarian

The PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.