More than six months ago, Whole Foods decided to ban the sale of live lobsters and soft shelled crabs in their stores because they determined that the practice was inhumane. The sea creatures, in Whole Foods' study, were not "treated with respect and compassion" on their journey from sea to market and until that issue could be resolved, no lobsters were to be put into the sale tanks in the fish department.
Since the ban was enacted, the natural foods store has not found any companies that meet its standards for the human treatment of lobsters. Until now, that is. Whole Foods is opening their first market in Maine next week and the Portland store will be stocking live lobsters. They have contracted with the Little Bay Lobster Co., a New Hampshire-based company, which will keep lobsters in private compartments for transport after catching them to reduce their stress.
Stocking live lobsters doesn't mean that they will be selling live lobsters, though. In the stores, an employee will use a "110-volt shock [to kill them and] to spare them the agony of being boiled alive in a pot of water."
Maine's lobster fishermen aren't thrilled with this plan. First, they are offended that a company that so heavily promotes its support for local farmers and fishermen would choose an out-of-state company when there are so many local ones to choose from. Second, the fishermen say that "they tell us we're doing everything wrong, obviously it doesn't sit very well with us," noting that using "a lobster electric chair" to kill the lobster sounds like a gimmick that won't impress consumers. Especially not in a state that loves its lobsters.