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NY eatery frees ancient lobster

"George" the giant lobster
Large lobsters are usually too big to get caught in traps

A lobster believed to be some 140 years old is to be freed from the confines of a tank at a New York restaurant.

George the giant lobster, weighing 9kg (20lb), will be returned to the ocean, from where he was caught two weeks ago.

The crustacean was bought for $100 (66) by the City Crab and Seafood and quickly adopted as its mascot, posing for pictures with restaurant patrons.

But animal rights group Peta sought the lobster's release, and will now put it back into the waters off Maine.

It will enter the ocean in the waters around Kennebunkport, where lobster trapping is banned.

George was originally caught off Newfoundland, Canada, and has spent about 10 days in the tank at City Crab and Seafood.

These intriguing animals don't deserve to be confined to tiny tanks or boiled alive
Ingrid Newkirk
Peta

The approximate age of a lobster can be deduced from its weight.

Restaurant manager Keith Valenti said there was never any intent to harm the lobster, and the decision to keep it in the tank was made to offer customers a little something extra.

"We bought a big lobster, started taking pictures with kids and it worked out real well," Mr Valenti told Reuters news agency.

But it was a "no brainer", he added, to agree to the request to return George to the ocean.

"We never intended him to be sold, just draw attention to the restaurant, and he did."

Ingrid Newkirk, of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) praised the decision.

"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.

"We hope that their kind gesture serves as an example that these intriguing animals don't deserve to be confined to tiny tanks or boiled alive."



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