What If You Were A Lobster?
I was raised on a cattle farm. I have always had a distaste for the temperament of cows but not for the taste of cows. However, my relationship with lobster has changed quite a lot since my eight-year-old days of being delighted by the little tools that lobster restaurants provide diners.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan says lobster is basically just a water-breathing insect that we have to smother with butter to glean any enjoyment from. I decided he was right, and I no longer wanted to eat lobster.
When I told my parents, they gave me the essay “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace, which changed me. The essay explains that, before lobster was a delicacy, it was considered the opposite. There was actually a law that prisoners could be fed lobster only once a week, as it was a vile creature -- like a rat.
Although I have no moral objection to eating meat, I think boiling lobsters alive is barbaric. Wallace addresses this issue, so -- spoiler alert -- I recommend you plug your ears and hum loudly for 30 seconds or so if you don’t want to know what the essay says.
It’s hard to tell if lobsters suffer in the 35 to 45 seconds that they are alive while being boiled, but they do struggle. Wallace points out that, if there is struggle, there is a preference -- which is, unsurprisingly, not to be boiled alive.
Given that evidence, there is no way to make boiling live lobsters moral.
I’m Madeleine Libman, and that’s my perspective.