I have read this question about how to euthanize a fish but I wonder what is the least painful way to kill shrimp?

Since invertebrates are different than fish I wonder if there is another way.


4 Answers 4


I think that freezing the shrimp would be the least painful. Put it in a bag of water, then refrigerate for about an hour, then freeze overnight.

And honestly some say that just putting it in a bag and stomping it or hitting it against the wall is a quick and painless way to euthanize the shrimp. I know stomping sounds horrible, but it is quick.

Here is a link to some suggestions: Euthanize a Shrimp

Also, some people have argued that shrimp and lobsters have such a small brain that their nervous system isn't complex enough to feel pain. Its more of a theory than a fact, though. It is hard to believe that a living animal could not feel pain.

  • 1
    I agree for the irrelevance due to the brain size. That's not how the freezing is meant to be done. See my answer below. Jan 9, 2017 at 22:55

The process might be irrelevant due to the brain size/incapacity to feel pain as pointed out in @MSU_Bulldog's answer.

Since precise cutting with a sharp blade into the brain is not an option as it is for fish, there remains

  • the option to introduce brain/nervous system death through cold. That might have led to the idea that just any process of freezing would do the job. The original idea is to freeze a fully saturated salt solution (created by putting salt into boiling water until it doesn't dissolve anymore and starts falling to the bottom of the container) and put the being inside. It will easily take the temperature of the freezer which is usually -21 to -18°C while staying liquid. The death is instant as opposed to let the being suffer while suffocating in the freezer long before dying of cold.
  • an overdose of an anesthetic like Eugenol

Both methods are recommended for fish as well.


Because invertebrates are not covered under the animal welfare act 2006, there are no laws to follow in terms of how you do it. The quickest and kindest method would be to freeze them as it initially sends them to sleep then kills them


I've read a fair bit on this and it's better to chill them at 2-4 °C (35-39 °F) which stuns them and then to freeze them afterwards to kill them. Apparently, they show no distress using this method.

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