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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

PETA and Lobsters

PETA is just one step closer to complete insanity, judging by this latest little publicity stunt that will never take off.

The situation starts off with Skowhegan, Maine - a county that is currently building a new jail and is trying to sell off their outdated jail. That sounds sensible enough. And then PETA gets in the act. PETA has sent a proposal to the Somerset County commissioners to LEASE their jail to PETA so they can turn it into a "Lobster Empathy Center" (that's what they're calling it). The realtor handling the jail's sale has identified the proposal as "likely a publicity stunt."

Judge for yourself with this excerpt from the letter sent by PETA to the commissioners:

"A prison is the perfect setting to demonstrate how lobsters suffer when they are caught in traps or confined to cramped, filthy supermarket tanks. The center will teach visitors to have compassion for these interesting, sensitive animals while also commemorating the millions of lobsters who are ripped from their homes in the ocean off the coast of Maine each year before being boiled alive."

Luckily, unlike the Chicago City Council who were all taken in by PETA shock video and banned the sale of foie gras two years ago (and recently realized their mistake and repealed it), Commissioner Chairman Phil Roy isn't buying it and is willing to point out the many many issues regarding this letter.

1. Skowhegan isn't even part of coastal Maine.

This whole shenanigan is to make the public aware of the lobster catching going on at the coast of Maine. Stupidly, they chose a town about 53 MILES away from the coast of Maine (namely Rockland, home of the Maine Lobster Festival) to launch their futile efforts.

2. PETA complains about lobster jail, but never lifted a finger about the humans kept in those conditions.

Even this commissioner will point out that humans are animals too, and PETA couldn't care less about the humans who have to suffer with "objectionable" conditions - but if an animal has to go through something even remotely similar to those conditions? That's the only time PETA pretends to care and sends out these insane letters.

3. PETA wants to use the space for propaganda that lobsters feel pain.

Studies have frankly been done for a number of years with no factual conclusion on the subject. One famous study, however, sides with the "it is unlikely that they can feel pain" camp. Biologists have said for years that the lobster's primitive nervous system and underdeveloped brain are akin to an insect, and while lobsters react to stimuli (like boiling water), the reactions are escape mechanisms and NOT a conscious response or an indication of pain, they say.

"It's a semantic thing: No brain, no pain."

4. PETA wants to trap visitors and put rubber bands on their fingers.

That's just ridiculous. While I can understand that there's a parallel between rubber bands on claws - those rubber bands are there for the protection of those handling the lobsters, not to torture or be "mean" to the lobsters. If a vicious dog was threatening to bite people, you'd put a muzzle on it. If your cat is scratching the furniture or people - you get it declawed. It's a safety precaution and exploiting it under the guise of torturing a defenseless creature is insane. It's because the creature ISN'T defenseless! Plus, the whole notion of human-sized lobster traps and cramming people into a giant replica lobster tank with filthy glass walls? That's going a little too far. The place was going to be set in a JAIL and you're going further out of your way to remind people that they don't like being confined in dirty small spaces? Waste of time and bigger waste of props.

This whole thing is crazy from square one.

Nonetheless, even if it's (obviously) a publicity stunt, it's being forwarded to the realtor along with all other offers. The realty company has expressed that all offers would be considered, but admitted that the county has no interest in leasing the jail. The property needs to be sold, and the use of the property is the bigger issue being looked at. The county wants to provide jobs and "get the property back on the tax rolls." There are currently 22 leads already, including one proposal to purchase the jail for "a gristmill, artists colony, bakery and other cultural uses."

I'm hoping that seems like an infinitely better idea than leasing the building to a terrorist organization like PETA for the purpose of turning it into a "Lobster Empathy Center".

What do you think? Isn't lobster delicious? "No brain, no pain?"

(The article about PETA's indecent proposal)

(The study showing lobsters probably don't feel pain in the first place)


The Swimming Polar Bear said...

First things first I am not a huge supporter of PETA. They try to do good but they do it in a totally obtrusive way. If they could learn to put out their message like these kids from Nick then maybe more people would listen to them http://www.natnalex.com/prizes/ I don't like PETA and I am a vegetarian. Nobody likes PETA but PETA

Anonymous said...

The rubber bands, btw, aren't just for the protection of humans. Put even a couple of lobsters in a tank without those bands and watch them tear each other apart. They're cannibals.

AaronBSam said...

Oh, so it IS kind of like real jail? (Technically, I think that just makes them antisocial/murderers. They'd actually have to EAT each other to be cannibalistic.)

Maybe instead of the world learning something about how to treat lobsters based on how we treat prisoners, we should be learning something about how to treat prisoners based on how we treat lobsters...

I bet that shanking situations in prisons would be virtually eliminated if all prisoners were kept in straightjackets all the time (as close of an analogy to rubber-banded claws as I can conjure). All you'd have to change is that instead of serving food on plates and letting them eat in a civilized manner (until utensil-related shanking ensues), you could just dump food into a trough or sprinkle it from the cafeteria ceiling!


Flu-Bird said...

I have a better idea why dont they leave it a jail and use it to lock up all those PETA wack jobs becuase their stupid and out of thier minds

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