October 1, 2013
ROCKLAND, Maine — Knox County’s top prosecutor said he will not pursue animal cruelty charges in connection with the processing of lobsters at Linda Bean’s plant in Rockland.
District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau issued a statement Monday afternoon in response to a complaint filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA asked that Bean be investigated for possible criminal charges of cruelty to animals for the way her facility processes lobsters.
Rushlau said his research shows that the state’s animal cruelty laws never were intended to cover invertebrate species — animals without backbones.
“Because it is far from clear that the Legislature intended to include lobsters and crabs within this definition, and the opposite intention is more likely, I conclude that the conduct you describe in the materials submitted is not prosecutable under Maine’s cruelty to Animals statute,” Rushlau stated in his response to Dan Paden of PETA. “I will not ask the Rockland Police Department to conduct any additional investigation, nor file a complaint based on your investigation.”
PETA issued a statement later Monday expressing appreciation for Rushlau’s thoughtful review of the issue while disagreeing with his decision.