People will cling on to the most unlikely notions if it means that they can keep doing something they enjoy but know deep down is wrong. And sad as it is to say, there are going to be people who continue to ignore or deny the fact that crustaceans feel pain despite mountains of evidence that this is the case—including the study published in New Scientist today, which shows that lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans all share pain sensitivity. Which means (just in case anyone needs this spelled out) that cramming them into pots of boiling water while they’re still alive should be a jailable offense. Literally. We prosecute people for equivalent cruelty to cats or dogs, so a lobster bake shouldn’t be any different.
Setting that aside for a second, I hate the fact that this study was ever done in the first place. The notion of a bunch of grown men and women in labcoats prodding lobsters to see if they react and then pompously announcing to the scientific community, that “yes, they do react,” would frankly be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that these animals suffered to prove what we all know intuitively already: That there’s something horribly wrong with the way we treat these animals, and that no matter how much someone might enjoy the taste of lobster, there is simply no way to justify torturing a living being for the sake of a palate preference.
If you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely check out the essay Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace (who happens, incidentally, to be my favorite living author). It’s a fascinating analysis of the ethics related to this issue from the point of view of someone who had never given it any thought at all, until he was assigned to write about a lobster festival for Gourmet magazine. You can find that here.