Makro has rejected calls from animal welfare campaigners to stop selling live lobsters and crabs, saying it is not its place to tell professional chefs how to do their job.

However, the wholesaler said it would make sure its staff would refer customers to information sources on how to cook and prepare lobsters from now on, to help them make informed choices.

The move comes after Viva! and Animal Aid last week claimed the practice of live selling could cause “extreme distress and suffering”, as the animals were kept in crammed tanks and sometimes boiled alive.

“Makro stores across the UK are currently stocking live Canadian lobsters and crabs for customers to take away and kill without any guidance or training,” the groups claimed.

Makro said it had made investments to ensure “the highest standards of lobster health and wellbeing” in its stores, and that its in-store fishmongers had received specific training. In response to the claim that lobsters could be boiled alive, the company said there were several ways for chefs to prepare and cook lobsters and “as a wholesaler, we don’t feel it is our place to tell our customers how to do their job.”