Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rachel Maddow Made Me Post This

EVER WONDER IF YOU CAN YOU KILL A LOBSTER PAINLESSLY?

For the answers, read below.
(yes, nothing to do with bicycles, but just as important.)

Placing Lobsters in a Pot of Boiling Water
Although boiling lobsters alive is one of the most common methods used by chefs, it may also be the cruelest (how would you like to be boiled alive?). In the journal Science, researcher Gordon Gunter described this method of killing lobsters as "unnecessary torture." As anyone who has ever boiled a lobster alive can attest, when dropped into scalding water, lobsters whip their bodies wildly and scrape the sides of the pot in a desperate attempt to escape, and they can take up to three minutes to die.

Placing Lobsters in Cold Water That Is Gradually Heated
Many people believe that placing lobsters in cold water that is slowly brought to a boil causes the lobsters to lose consciousness before the water becomes uncomfortably hot. But lobsters killed by this method do struggle to escape as the water becomes hotter - for five to seven minutes. J.R. Baker decided to prove the obvious and tortured some animals in the name of science. He explained that as you would expect, as the temperature of the water rises, lobsters begin "shaking" and "trembling," and their entire bodies start to convulse.

Placing Lobsters in a Saltwater Solution Before Boiling Them
Although the lobster industry has claimed that immersing lobsters in a concentrated saltwater solution (one part salt to three parts water) renders them unconscious, we don't know how they experience the salt water (it could be completely agonizing for them), and lobsters regain full consciousness again within 30 seconds of being removed from the salt water. Since it can take three minutes to kill lobsters in boiling water, as you would expect, when plunged into it, the lobsters struggle to escape.

Cutting Lobsters in Half or Severing Their Spinal Cords
Julia Child, who never met an animal she didn't want in her tummy, once claimed that a lobster "may be killed almost instantly just before cooking if you plunge the point of a knife into the head between the eyes or sever the spinal cord." Nonsense! Like some other animals, lobsters continue to feel pain even after they have been cut in half (like you would if someone cut your legs off). Dr. Jaren G. Horsley, an invertebrate zoologist, says, "The lobster does not have an autonomic nervous system that puts it into a state of shock when it is harmed. It probably feels itself being cut. ... I think the lobster is in a great deal of pain from being cut open ... [and] feels all the pain until its nervous system is destroyed." In other words, the lobster feels being cut in half much like you would, regardless of what Julia Child claims.

Placing Lobsters in Fresh Water
To read the description, this may well be the cruelest method of killing lobsters. Lobsters who are transferred from sea water to fresh water (unsalted tap water) flip wildly, assume unnatural postures, regurgitate food, and suffer from a painful swelling at their joints. According to J.R. Baker, "the lobster has no defence against the entry of fresh water through the gills. The hard external skeleton prevents any swelling of the body as a whole, and as a result the soft integument at the joints becomes distended outwards. ... It is almost as though one sought to anaesthetize a human being, encased in tight armour, by slow injection of fresh water into the blood stream."

6 comments:

Freewheel said...

Is Rachel Maddow a vegetarian or vegan?

Krista said...

Poor lobsters. As a kid I always wanted to rescue the lobsters from the tanks at the grocery store. They taste nasty, anyways.

The Bronze Bombshell said...

I thought I saw a chef on a cooking show say that the lobsters could be "anesthetized" by placing in the freezer for a certain amount of time before putting them in the boiling water. I guess the idea is to put them to sleep, but never allow them to wake up because the shock from the boiling water kills them.

Michael said...

I don't think that I would want to be frozen to death either... That sounds horrible. :(

Jonno! said...

So how DO you kill a lobster painlessly?

Michael said...

You don't - when you kill something, it suffers, it dies.

Eating other animals means causing pain, suffering and terror in the victims.