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Consider the Lobster

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 
I was curious about people's thoughts on boiling lobsters. I've heard many arguments about why it is not as inhumane as boiling, say, a rabbit alive, but I still have moral hangups that prevent me from doing it or from really eating lobster, though I love it. This article by the late David Foster Wallace is long but sums up some of my concerns well. http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000...er_the_lobster Some quotes, though I could quote most of the article as relevant to my feelings on the matter:
Quote:
Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure? A related set of concerns: Is the previous question irksomely PC or sentimental? What does “all right” even mean in this context? Is it all just a matter of individual choice?
Quote:
Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge that the questions of whether and how different kinds of animals feel pain, and of whether and why it might be justifiable to inflict pain on them in order to eat them, turn out to be extremely complex and difficult. And comparative neuroanatomy is only part of the problem.
Quote:
The more important point here, though, is that the whole animal-cruelty-and-eating issue is not just complex, it’s also uncomfortable. It is, at any rate, uncomfortable for me, and for just about everyone I know who enjoys a variety of foods and yet does not want to see herself as cruel or unfeeling. As far as I can tell, my own main way of dealing with this conflict has been to avoid thinking about the whole unpleasant thing.
Quote:
Still, after all the abstract intellection, there remain the facts of the frantically clanking lid, the pathetic clinging to the edge of the pot. Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain and wishing to avoid/escape the painful experience. To my lay mind, the lobster’s behavior in the kettle appears to be the expression of a preference; and it may well be that an ability to form preferences is the decisive criterion for real suffering.
Quote:
Is it not possible that future generations will regard our own present agribusiness and eating practices in much the same way we now view Nero’s entertainments or Aztec sacrifices? My own immediate reaction is that such a comparison is hysterical, extreme—and yet the reason it seems extreme to me appears to be that I believe animals are less morally important than human beings;20 and when it comes to defending such a belief, even to myself, I have to acknowledge that (a) I have an obvious selfish interest in this belief, since I like to eat certain kinds of animals and want to be able to keep doing it, and (b) I have not succeeded in working out any sort of personal ethical system in which the belief is truly defensible instead of just selfishly convenient.
So is your cooking and eating of lobster defensible, convenient, or not a concern at all?
post #2 of 123
after boiling hundreds of them, doesnt concern me in the slightest
post #3 of 123
Defensible. I mean I step on cockroaches because I fear they may...continue moving in my house. At least the lobster will have served a purpose. Also, lobsters are essentially the sea's cockroaches
post #4 of 123
I like when the air escapes out of their shell... Makes it sound like they are screaming.
post #5 of 123
i don't cook much lobster, but i do cook a lot of dungeness crab. you ever been bitten by one of those things? it's kill or be killed my son.
post #6 of 123
I do it, but killing them with a knife results in better lobster. It's just sort of gross.
post #7 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
i don't cook much lobster, but i do cook a lot of dungeness crab. you ever been bitten by one of those things? it's kill or be killed my son.
Perhaps it is best to stay out of the Dungen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
I do it, but killing them with a knife results in better lobster. It's just sort of gross.
Matt claims the opposite. I don't really have a problem with this method.
post #8 of 123
just how much suffering are you willing to take???
post #9 of 123
lobster is ppl too
post #10 of 123
I think the author would have a point if we were boiling Aztecs.
post #11 of 123
Thread Starter 
None of you chuckle-heads have read the article. You should, he's a great writer. I also think that being sent to cover a lobster festival and then turning in a short dissertation on the morality of cooking lobster is great.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
I think the author would have a point if we were boiling Aztecs.
Have you done sous-vide on a living lobster yet? That's gotta suck.
post #12 of 123
post #13 of 123
Thread Starter 
I am hoping to make it my breakdown thread. Thank you for your contribution.
post #14 of 123
i'm with manton on this one ... when i do cook lobster, i usually do the old chef's knife right behind the eyes thing. tried it side-by-side once (yes, this is my job) and it may have been imaginary, but it seemed the meat was a little more tender.
post #15 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
None of you chuckle-heads have read the article.

Yes, I have. The whole book even.
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