Thursday, March 24, 2005

On Size Mattering

The Washington Post reports that a 15-pound lobster for sale in a Potomac seafood store did not sell. Instead, it produced a great deal of sympathy from people who would otherwise blithely order an 8- or 9-pound lobster:
"I've never had a lobster that big at this store before, and I won't have one that big again," said Grolig, owner of River Falls Seafood Co. and a 21-year veteran of the seafood trade. "About 30 percent of the people who saw him in the tank expressed concern. A few customers were really unhappy. . . . I'm really torn about the whole idea of these big lobsters. Does it really make sense to sell them?"
I don't know what it is about a lobster's size that makes the prospect of boiling it alive any more or less sad, perhaps it's because size appears to be a function of age with crustaceans.

If it is the case, though, that we grimace on account of the lobster’s age, I have to ask, “why?” I assume that most of us feel sad at the thought of hurting animals because, to some extent, we empathize with their pain; we identify with the animal. Why then, in a society that generally views an older person's death with less sorrow than a younger person's, would we all of a sudden tear-up at the prospect of allowing a lobster in its golden years to be dipped into its golden butter? Shouldn't we get more worked up about the younger one?


Post a Comment

<< Home