A Facebook post published Sep 30 introduced to the public Singapore’s first Claw Machine to catch fresh and live crab. The announcement was made by a local seafood restaurant named House of Seafood.

The restaurant which is located at the Punggol Settlement explained that customers can catch their own crab when they play the claw machine. The crab that is caught will be cooked and prepared for them during dinner. A token, which costs S$5, is required for each play at the machine.

A marketing gimmick

The said machine was featured in a video published by media company Shout and garnered more than 3,000 shares and elicited 1,000 comments.

However, what seemed to be a marketing gimmick drew flak and so much criticism from those against animal cruelty.

Here are some examples of comments posted on Facebook:

From a certain Jessica Yan – “Dont subject them to cruelty, we should treat living beings with dignity and respect our food.”

Another comment from Serene Yap says, “This is plain cruel. Be thankful that they sacrifice their lives for meat eaters, the most you can do is to minimise their suffering.”

A disappointed parent was more vocal as he said, “Respect and be gratitude with your food. Do not play with food. Especially live animals. Catch, kill, and eat. End of story. Please dont add in unnecessary discomfort (stress) and torture to the animals….I would not let my children try this or see this. It sends a different message and value which I advocate.”

SPCA reaction and response

The Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) responded to the video in a Facebook post on Oct. 23.

SPCA condemned the claw machine, saying that the machine “causes unnecessary harm to the animals”….Crabs are living creatures, not toys.”

SPCA also stated that they have contacted Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) to request that the machine be shut down. -/TISG