Lobster crane machines being shut down in New Zealand

Shaggy February 10, 2010 8

A lobster crane machine at IAAPA 2009

I going to try and not use this post to debate the merits of whether lobster crane machines are cruel to the animals but it was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere lodged a protest against the machines, which we have discussed previously. This particular case comes from New Zealand, where The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals “sealed up the three controversial Catcha Cray machines operating in Auckland pubs” recently. The SPCA brought in a “crustacean expert” who said that in their expert opinion the game was harmful to the animals and apparently this society has the legal authority to shut the machines down, which they are doing where ever they can be found.  All this is despite the fact that the SPCA and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry approved the game in the past. The owner of the machines will be fighting this in court so we will have to wait and see what happens but it’s no secret that the government in neighboring Australia has the habit of playing the nanny and banning all sorts of games they feel are inappropriate for whatever reason.  I haven’t really heard of that happening in New Zealand however. We’ll have to wait and see as to whether this sort of haggling over whether the game is suitable or not will spread to other countries or not (these machines can be found in Asia and the US, not sure if they’ve been spotted in Europe yet) but if so it will prove to be a hassle for people who operate them.

[Via News.com.au] [Discuss on the forums]


8 Comments »

  1. Dave W February 10, 2010 at 6:50 am - Reply

    I’ve never seen one of these in New Zealand but upon reading about them becoming banned I was very happy. What a terrible and cruel machine.

  2. Brent Silby February 10, 2010 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Imagine installing these in pet stores. You could put your money in and pick up your favorite puppy with a claw. The possibilities are endless…

    Probably a good thing they are shutting it down 😉

  3. A concerned Kiwi.... February 10, 2010 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Darn it! There go my dinner plans for tonight…. I guess I will have to get my lobster at the grocer where they live a life of bliss and tranquility…..

  4. BombJack88 February 10, 2010 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Awww, “a hassle for people who operate them.” Poor arcade operators. Your whole article was about the hassle of this operation getting shut down. Not a single thought about morality. Ever the businessman!

  5. RJAY63 February 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Bloody PC brigade, they’re everywhere I tell you! What is the world coming to when people aren’t even allowed to molest crustaceans with metal cranes? Sounds like the same type of ‘do-gooders’ who keep telling me to stop smoking at gas stations…..I despair!;)

  6. Shaggy February 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I can see I’ve tweaked some nerves! I’m sorry if some of you are loosing sleep over these things, which it seems some are from the reaction.

    Here’s something to chew on: If everyone who paid to play this game thought it was cruel, they wouldn’t dump tons of money into it. If they didn’t dump money into them, no one would buy them in the first place. Just a thought!

    I wouldn’t consider getting one for my arcade. It’s not an idea I care for personally, with lobsters or other animals. I’m not on a crusade to have them banned however.

    Considering that this same organization passed off on these games initially and then turn around and begin shutting them down, I’d say it’s a hassle. As I pointed out at the beginning, I wasn’t here to debate whether this is cruel to animals – which is a matter of opinion as obviously these machines are popular in many places where people don’t have the same morals as you do but if they want to prove that it’s cruel, they should be a little more scientific about it and monitor the health of the lobsters as they are picked up as opposed to staring at it and coming to that conclusion (or assumption)? What constitutes cruel and whose definition will we use? Or maybe someone can just ask them how they feel about it?

    • RJAY63 February 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      You can probably tell my previous post was written with tongue firmly in cheek. I was merely satirising the UK tabloid view that Political Correctness exists only in liberal/left wing/socialist/environmental/animal rights thinking…very odd considering the same tabloids regularly campaign for particular films, games, pornography, legal recreational drugs etc to be banned! O_O

      I do eat lobster (occasionally) but I don’t know if trying to picking up a live one with a crane is cruel or not. It certainly would be difficult as I never win on a normal crane machine so trying to catch a moving animal would be nigh impossible for me! Perhaps using a net would be less cruel but then again the lobster will be caught and killed more quickly. Certainly the SPCA should have been more thorough before they approved the machine in the first instance, however any operator that buys a game where you attempt to catch live animals should be prepared for controversy (with or without said approval). ‘Hassle’ goes with the territory. Free publicity for both parties in the court case though. 😉

      • Shaggy February 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm - Reply

        Oh you’re fine, I was more responding to Bombjack/Paul. I wanted to avoid the debate in the post because I honestly don’t know if picking a lobster up with a crane is cruel or not (anymore “cruel” than boiling him a minute later?) and it seems silly to me that the determination is made solely by observing the game and not taking any scientific action about it. You are right that anything like this will cause controversy – I’m not good at regular cranes either so I wouldn’t even bother with this.

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