Singapore—After last week’s news of the House of Seafood restaurant in Punggol getting into trouble for letting guests catch crabs via a claw machine, another restaurant has been revealed to have gotten called out for the same practice recently.
On October 23, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) posted on social media concerning House of Seafood’s practice of allowing patrons to “catch” live animals using the claw machine. Jaipal Singh Gill, the executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said to The Straits Times (ST), “We are disturbed by the concept and the harm it causes animals for the sake of human entertainment.
We feel that this (machine) needs to be shut down immediately. We have reported it to the (National Parks Board’s) Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) and hope that swift action can be taken.”
According to the manager of the Sea Tripod Seafood Group in Jurong, when the eatery opened its doors in January, it allowed restaurant guests to use the claw machine on live lobsters.
But they were told shortly afterward by the then Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to discontinue using the machine, since it is deemed cruel to the animals, according to a report in the ST.
At present, the machine is only used as a display case for lobsters. Patrons are disallowed from using the claws to catch the animals.
The restaurant’s manager, who told ST that he wishes to be known only as Mr Li, said that the machine had been purchased from China for the amount of S$3,000.
“We don’t want to offend any people or break any laws.
If we receive any complaints from government officials, we’ll definitely take more action, but for now we don’t play, we just display,” Mr Li said.
The attention of the SPCA was brought concerning the claw machine at the Sea Tripod Seafood Group restaurant by a member of the public.
The SPCA executive director said, “Our concern and worry is that it becomes a trend and is normalised, so we must take action quickly to stop this from becoming a norm.”
However, he encouraged the restaurant to make its stand regarding the practice clear, since “Using the claw machine for display still sends a wrong message,” he added.
After House of Seafood in Punggol was called out, they placed boxes into the claw machine so that anyone who wishes to use it may have the chance to win some crab meat.
Francis Ng, the chief executive officer of the House of Seafood, issued an apology for having used the claw machine, saying, “These machines are very common overseas, but in Singapore there are a lot of animal lovers and it caused them a lot of sadness, so we apologise for that.”
Message from Mr Francis Ng, CEO of 螃蟹之家 House of Seafood.First of all, I’m sorry to all animal caregivers. We did not…
Mr Ng wrote, “First of all, I’m sorry to all animal caregivers. We did not intend to use animals as play things. We noticed a lot of children at The Punggol Settlement and we wanted to educate them (about marine life) and allow them to return these crabs into the ocean. We want to encourage them to release the crabs back into the ocean after catching them.
We would like to stress that our team took one month of planning to come up with the design of the machine, so that it would not harm or hurt the crabs. We have ‘gloves’ put onto the claws in the machine and we thought about this during the designing stage, to make sure that the claws will not injure or be painful to the crabs. We also clean the game machine every day and let them survive in a good environment.
After the concerns raised by the public members, our restaurant had temporary stop the claw machine, and will carefully review our system. Once again, we are deeply sorry and apologise for any inconvenience and unhappiness caused. We, at House of Seafood, hope to serve each of you better and thank you for all the feedback.”/ TISG