Whole Lobsters at Whole Foods in Maine

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The Whole Foods supermarket chain will allow whole lobsters to be sold in a Maine store. Whole Foods banned the sale of live lobsters last year, citing objections to how the creatures are treated.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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Watch out, Maine lobsters. Sparky is coming to town. Whole Foods, the Austin-based supermarket chain that's sometimes known as Whole Paycheck, is opening its first store in Maine next week. The chain announced in June it will not sell live lobsters in its stores because storing them in tanks where lobsters can fuss and fight over food in a tiny space is cruel.

But Whole Foods in Portland will sell lobsters. These will be caught locally in traps and stored in individual compartments that will travel from the boat to the store. When someone buys a lobster, a countertop device called CrustaStun will send an electrical charge to the lobsters so that it dies in seconds rather than get boiled alive in a pot.

Whole Foods says this is more humane because the lobster has a better life in a compartment than a tank where he can be pummeled and clawed by other hungry lobsters. But Tom Martin, a Portland lobsterman, was unimpressed by CrustaStun. He told the Associated Press, a lobster electric chair?

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