At age 140, lobster to regain his freedom

Fri Jan 9, 2009 6:32pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lobster thought to be about 140 years old will be returned to the ocean after briefly becoming the mascot for a New York City restaurant, an animal rights group said on Friday.

The 20-pound (9-kg) lobster was caught off the coast of Canada about two weeks ago and bought for $100 by City Crab and Seafood to become its mascot, said manager Keith Valenti.

"We bought a big lobster, started taking pictures with kids and it worked out real well," said Valenti, adding it was a "no brainer" to return the old crustacean to the ocean.

He said a lobster's age can be worked out from how much it weighs, with each pound counting for 7 to 10 years. Valenti said it was not uncommon for lobsters to live for more than 100 years but it was rare for them to be caught because they were generally too big for the baskets.

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it found out that the old lobster was in the restaurant's tank when a diner called them.

"We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace," said PETA's Ingrid Newkirk.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by John O'Callaghan)