An arcade game in which diners grabbed living lobsters from a tank with a claw has been removed from a South Florida pub, The Miami Herald reported.
That’s because Christina Fernandez, an animal activist and customer at Carolina Ale House on Northwest 36th Street and 87th Avenue in Doral, complained about the game, called “The Lobster Zone.”
"The animals were swimming in filth," the 30-year-old woman from Palmetto Bay told the Herald. "It was cruel and it was inhumane. When I was growing up those machines had stuffed animals."
The crustaceans would swim around a small tank until a winner snagged one with the claw, the Herald reported. Winners would keep their lobster or get it boiled by the restaurant for free.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that the mechanical claw injured the lobsters, and said their tank was too small, the Herald reported. The organization also didn’t like the message that “The Lobster Zone” sent, especially to kids, about making a game out of killing innocent animals, the paper reported.
Ernie Pappas, the owner of The Lobster Zone company, said it has 200 machines in Florida and 2,000 across the country. He shot down PETA’s claims.
“We treat our lobsters better than they do in grocery stores," Pappas said. "The claw is made of plastic, I’ve never had a lobster injured."
Pappas said his company gets calls from “goodie-two-shoes” a couple times a year, but it’s rare for a bar to get rid of his game, the Herald reported.
"It’s pathetic when you think about all of the other stuff going on in the world," he said of those complaints.
Fernandez grew up catching lobsters in the Florida Keys, but she told the ale house’s management that their machine was a cruel and inhumane way to treat them. Other customers had spoken up in the past, but Fernandez was the most vocal, manager Andy Dunkes said.
"She came in and we hit it off," he told the Herald. "A lot of people thought the machine was cruel and the last thing we want to do is offend anybody."
The paper said “The Lobster Zone” was removed within three weeks – and lobsters are no longer served at the restaurant.
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