No brain, no pain, what a gain
Leada Gore, Editor
The first thing that caught my eye was the giant picture of a lobster being lowered into a simmering pot of water. "No brain, no pain" the headline said.
Intrigued, I read further. It seems scientists in Portland, Maine, conducted a study to see if lobsters suffered pain when they were boiled. The test included other boilable seafood, such as crabs, and non-boilable kinds, like worms.
The scientists discovered lobsters, crabs and worms have small brains and are incapable of feeling pain. They explained all this in a 39-page report, adding any movement on the part of animals as it was being boiled is just involuntary reaction.
The lobster industry – which sponsored the study – was thrilled with the results. Animal rights groups weren't so happy. The results directly conflicted with a planned program designed to increase understanding of aquatic creatures, sort of a touchy-feely thing for the fish set.
As for me, I was disturbed. I like lobster and crab, though I don't really have any use for worms. All this time, I have been eating both and not worried about the cooking process, much less the size of their brain.
Don't get me wrong – I would never want to see an animal suffer, even if it is something with big claws and the ability to snap my little toe off. However, I didn't know I was supposed to be worrying about lobsters and their feelings. When it comes to lobster, I think more in terms of drawn butter than sensitivity.
Still, I guess I could be more considerate to the lobster. After all, I doubt it is his life's ambition is to end up as my entree. All the lobster wanted to do was swim around, scrounging around on the bottom of the ocean eating some stray plankton and hanging out with his lobster buddies. He's not worried about too much, and, except for a scary shark or something, life is pretty good.
Then, one day, he's running a quick errand when he gets caught up in a net and hauled to the surface. All at once, it's really bright, hot and loud, unlike the dark, cool and quiet ocean. He's thrown in a cooler and later in a tank at a restaurant. Still, he thinks things are OK. All he has to do is swim around the tank. Occasionally, he sees a strange thing looking in the tank and sometimes one of his new friends disappears. Then, one day, he gets pulled out of the tank and boom! Before he knows it, he's in really hot water, so to speak. Next thing he knows, he's headlining at the Red Lobster, right next to the shrimp scampi and salad.
Poor lobster. I, for one, feel guilty. And, in protest, when we go out to eat this weekend, I will order beef. Does anyone know the size of a cow's brain?