I have to admit that I eat meat and fish and such. When I do so I assume
that the creatures are being killed in a humane manner — if you can
call letting a fish asphyxiate to death humane. But this afternoon I was
watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on the Food Network as they
visited a restaurant in North Carolina and ran into something I found
rather shocking. The restaurant, which I will leave nameless as they
have a Facebook page and I don't want to hurt their business, is greatly
known for their soft-shelled crab sandwich. In the course of it they
showed how they prepared it, which consisted of little more than dipping
the live crab (the crabs evidently must be live or they lose their softness)
in a batter on each side and then tossing them into a skillet of hot oil.
You know, I've heard that lobster and such don't feel anything when they
are put into boiling water. And I'm not a marine biologist. But new studies
do seem to indicate that crustaceans do feel pain. Thus the way to prepare
these creatures for human consumption should be humane. Taking a
cleaver and cutting the crab in two lengthwise evidently will kill the
crab. And I can't imagine that a matter of one or two minutes post mortem
would interfere with the softness of the crab. The same thing would be
true also of lobsters. Many restaurants kill the lobster by cutting it in
half, usually serving only half of the lobster per order. This was the
case the last time I went to Red Lobster about a decade ago. But even if
someone would want a full lobster, they could still be cut in half and
both halves served together. Thus the only reason to serve whole lobster
that has been boiled alive is presentation on the table.
Which in my view is a poor — and cruel — excuse. I think this is one
where I have to go with the PETA people. It just seems sadistic somehow.
Just a suggestion: If you go to a restaurant with a craving for lobster
or crab, ask them first how they prepare the animals. I am sure that
they would be willing to cut them in half first if you asked for it.