A restaurant in Singapore has run into trouble after it installed a claw machine filled with live crabs for customers to catch
House of Seafood charged diners SGD5 (RM15) each time for trying to catch Sri Lankan crabs enclosed inside the claw machine, reported AFP.
The arcade machine is normally stuffed with plush toys as prizes, but this restaurant located in Punggol had decided to swap out toys with live crabs instead - causing the public to speak up against such unnecessary cruelty.
Launched earlier this month, the claw machine so far had only one customer who successfully caught a crab
The case was brought to the public's attention after a lifestyle website promoted the restaurant on Facebook
SHOUT featured the restaurant in a Facebook video, showing about a dozen crabs with their claws tied inside the claw machine.
It said each crab weighs about 500g to 800g. If customers caught the crab, the kitchen would cook it for free in a variety of flavours.
The video has been shared over 4,400 times since it was posted on Tuesday, 22 October. Many netizens have given the post 'angry' reactions and criticised the restaurant for being inhumane.
An animal protection organisation and local authorities have since taken notice of the claw machine
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took to Facebook to advise the public from partaking in the restaurant's gimmick.
"The game causes unnecessary harm to the animals and it also encourages people to see animals as nothing more than objects to play with and goes against our vision of a kinder society," the animal protection group said.
Singapore's Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) has also responded to the issue, stating that it is currently investigating the matter, reported The Straits Times.
"AVS takes all feedback received from the public on animal cruelty seriously and will look into the cases reported," it said in a statement yesterday, 24 October.
"All forms of evidence are critical to the process and photographic and/or video-graphic evidence provided by the public will help."
Following the backlash, House of Seafood issued an apology yesterday and stated that they have temporarily stopped the claw machine
The restaurant's chief executive officer Francis Ng apologised to animal caregivers and stated that it was not the restaurant's intention to portray "animals as playthings".
According to Ng, the reason they put up the claw machine filled with live crabs was because he wanted children in the neighbourhood to "learn about marine life".
"We want to encourage them to release the crabs back into the ocean after catching them," he wrote in a post uploaded on the restaurant's Facebook page.
Ng added that his team took a month to plan and design the machine so that it would not harm the crabs.
"We have 'gloves' put onto the claws in the machine. We also clean the game machine every day and let them survive in a good environment," he explained.
Meanwhile, Ng told AFP earlier that two restaurants he operates in China with the same claw machine had found huge success.