Crabs do not have to be alive when cooked in a pot. Crabs can be humanely killed immediately before the cooking process in several ways.
One way to kill the crab is to turn it on its back and hit it forcefully in the abdomen. The second method is to pierce it quickly with an ice pick. The crab is then either placed into boiling water right away for cooking or cleaned before it is placed in the pot.
According to U.S. News, there is an ongoing debate about humanely cooking crabs. Many cooks believe that crabs feel no pain when boiled alive; however, research reveals evidence that they do feel pain when cooked this way.