Who Will Kill The Lobster?

12 Jul

There’s been a lot of debate lately about the decision by Whole Foods Markets to stop selling live lobsters (usually accompanied by a debate as to whether its okay to eat foie gras. Thankfully this is one debate I can sit out because I do not like the flavor of foie). While I was doing research for this week’s heirloom·modern I found out that this very debate was raging 40 years ago.

The eminent food writer Roy Andries de Groot had this to say on the subject of lobsters:

When buying a lobster is it less cruel to ask the fishmonger to kill it by cutting its spinal cord? A group of rabid be-kind-to-animals British gourmets sponsored a scientific study on the subject supervised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The final report was that the most humane way is to put the live lobster (or crab) into a pot of cold fresh salted water, then bring it to the boil as quickly as possible. The rising temperature deadens the lobster’s nerves, so that it feels no discomfort.

So, apparently 40 years ago, much like today, people had a problem with lobsters because they had to cook them alive. Personally, I don’t get it. Either you want to eat lobsters (like I do), their deliciousness offsetting the guilt (it’s not like we’re prisoners in 1800s New England being forced to eat them 3 times a day, 7 days a week), or you don’t want to eat them because you hate the flavor or think it’s wrong and therefore get to feel morally superior to me. Either way, the decision to eat or not eat lobsters (and well, just about everything else) is personal and should be left up to each person.

One Response to “Who Will Kill The Lobster?”

  1. Lobsterlady February 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more. There are to many groups trying to run everybodys life.

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