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Random Friday Question: How Should Lobsters Die?

"In my pot" would be my quick answer to today's RFQ: How should lobsters die?

I ask only because there now appears to be yet another example of late empire rot, that curious social phenomenon in which Americans choose to ignore the more pressing matters on this globe and focus instead of the sort of trivial concerns that only the rich and idle could possibly care about--in this case, how lobsters might feel about being immersed in boiling water.

I kid you not: The Wall Street Journal recently devoted a lengthy piece to exploring the relative merits of various methods of offing a lobster. A fair number of foodies contend that splitting the creature in two before boiling it is somehow more humane. (You may not expect to see a lesson in how to stab a creature between the eyes in a gracefully named magazine such as Delicious Living, but here it is.)

Of course, the animal rights folks have examined this question and concluded that there is no humane way to kill a lobster and you should just shut up and eat your tofu.

And on the other side of the debate, the Lobster Conservancy offers a dining-friendly overview of the lobster's life cycle, from egg to larval stage to adult to plate. Yum.

Astonishingly, there are people who really do worry about this sort of thing, and a local government in Italy even passed a law banning the boiling of live lobsters. The senior scientist at the Lobster Conservancy, however, says it doesn't matter how you kill your dinner because lobsters appear not to feel anything when you put them in boiling water (they ordinarily drop a body part--a claw or leg--when it is damaged, but they don't do that in boiling water, leading Diane Cowan to conclude that their brain doesn't have time to register pain from that quick boil.)

In the Journal piece, a Boston University biologist who is an expert on lobsters endorses the boiling water method, even if some fancy chefs are now choosing to cut the critters in half.

The debate over how to kill lobsters misses the larger point about why they make such good eating (aside from the obvious bit about how scrumptious they are): As Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, points out, "Live lobster is one of the last feasts still harvested in a sustainable fashion directly from nature by individuals, not corporations, and sold absolutely fresh, without processing."

So boil on and eat up.

Where? Check out the Chinese smoked lobster offered occasionally by chef Jeff Tunks at DC Coast. The Palm is a regular and dependable provider of good old boiled lobster. Lobster rolls of note around town include those at Hank's, Kinkeads and then there's a highly touted lobster BLT at Cafe Mozu at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Here's one site's list of the top 10 seafood places in town.

I gotta go eat.

By Marc Fisher |  July 20, 2007; 7:43 AM ET
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Comments

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When I see new born lambs I dont think how cute but uuum! Lamb chops with their own little handles to make eating easier. Do day boat scallops suffer or oysters etc? Who cares! I want my beef and seafood! If you want tofu go for it but dont force your choices on me. Read Eddie Cheever's views on vegan/vegetarian diet versus a omnivore diet with meat. He switched to the omnivore diet because his diet was effecting his health and livelihood! Carnivores rule!

Posted by: vaherder | July 20, 2007 8:05 AM

How should lobsters be cooked? In whatever way will make them taste the best. (I'm a big fan of butter-poaching, but steamed or boiled will certainly suffice.) First they banned foie gras in Chicago, then trans fats in Montgomery County, now they're coming after lobsters. (By "they" I mean, in the immortal words of Anthony Bourdain, "the vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter group, the vegans" and the other food whackos.) Enough. Eat your sprouts, and leave me to my veal topped with foie gras and lobster chunks, with a side of spotted owl.

Posted by: BLE | July 20, 2007 8:17 AM

If vegetarian's food tastes so good, why do they keep trying to make it like meat-lover's food - vegetarian hotdogs, vegiie burgers, veggie bacon?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 8:19 AM

BLE, I've never poached Larry the Lobster in butter, it sounds delicious. How is it done, is it all butter and how much butter do you use?

I don't understand the uproar, they're the insects of the sea. Slap a live mosquito, cook a live lobster, what's the difference?

By the way, if any of you find yourselves in Chatham, MA, the fish store at Chatham Harbor is where you want to go. Fish right off the boat, clams dug that morning, but the best part is that lobsters 3lb and above sell for...get this...$5.99 a pound.

How long will lobsters survive on ice?

Posted by: Billy Pilgrim | July 20, 2007 8:42 AM

In order to criticize those who devote time to worrying about how lobster is cooked rather than worrying about more important things, Fisher devotes a blog to worrying about people who worry about how lobster is cooked, rather than writing about more important things. Isn´t Fisher´s blog a sign of what he calls empire rot?

Posted by: Steve | July 20, 2007 8:43 AM

As far as I'm concerned, lobsters should die of old age. I do not care for lobster meat. The only decent lobster I had was in Cape Town.

Posted by: WB | July 20, 2007 8:47 AM

I don't know but it sure would be nice to boil vaherder in a stock of sheep manure and feed him to his collies.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 8:55 AM

Heh. We have a family tradition started well over 30 years ago - we spend New Year's Eve with good friends and their family, and the meal is always "surf-n-turf". The "surf" hasn't been anything but lobster as long as I can remember.

My now-college aged nephew first joined the party at age 3 or 4. After passing the lobster crate in the garage, he couldn't believe that we were going to eat something so recently alive.

So when the lobsters were about to go into the pot, he solemnly asked our friend (who usually does the lobster boiling) if it hurt for them to die?

Our friend replied that no, it didn't hurt - he put them to sleep first so they didn't feel anything. And then he slowly waved each lobster over the rising steam while chanting "Sleeeeeep....Sleeeeeep".

Has anyone seen if this method works? ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 20, 2007 9:08 AM

Oh great wise Mark, man with the tremendous power of having opinions that are always the right ones, when are you going to stop wasting it writing a blog great father, and become leader of our nation so you can save us from ourselves?

Posted by: Sitting Mouse | July 20, 2007 9:23 AM

C'mon, a lobster is about as sentient as an insect, just larger... What's the most painless way to annihilate a termite colony? Really, we end entire civilizations every day and don't think twice...

Posted by: mikem | July 20, 2007 9:24 AM

Carnivores rule punk! What percentage of Tofu eaters have guns? What percentage of meat eaters have guns? Can a vegan survive in the wild? No unless you consider a Whole Foods store wild!

Posted by: vaherder | July 20, 2007 9:25 AM

A more important question is should Hillary being showing cleavage? And will any heterosexual carnivore males even look? What's next Hillary a short skirt and FMP's?

Posted by: vaherder | July 20, 2007 9:27 AM

Anyone who has seen south park knows Hillary hasn't seen any action in over 20+ years. Is Hillary even a woman or is she more of an A sexual being.

Anyways, the incest comment was great. Being PC just to shut up the stupid PETA people just encourages more stupid comments from the group.

Posted by: Jon | July 20, 2007 9:31 AM

woops I meant insect not incest, big difference there.

Posted by: Jon | July 20, 2007 9:36 AM

Wow. If trying to prevent a cruel act is "trivial," I'm happily irrelevant on this matter. Just because you care about an animal doesn't mean you don't care about people or current events. Let's put that to rest. If anything, studies have shown us those who hurt people started with animals. It's the cavalier attitude toward violence that allows someone to, I don't know, start a war without cause...

http://www.lobsterlib.com/fascinating.html

Posted by: Vienna, VA | July 20, 2007 9:41 AM

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. - Mahatma Gandhi

Posted by: SaraL | July 20, 2007 9:46 AM

"(By "they" I mean, in the immortal words of Anthony Bourdain, "the vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter group, the vegans" and the other food whackos.)"

My veganism is a very peronal choice -- it have to do with my health and my environmentalism. I have never expected anyone else to to give up eating meat. I have no problem with people eating meat, so please don't assume that my choice has anything to do with judging anyone else's choice. I choose not to eat meat and it is not a judgement on others' choices to do the opposite. Please don't assume that my lifestyle choice is something I am trying to force others to adopt.

Posted by: DC | July 20, 2007 10:06 AM

Great point, Sarah L

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 10:06 AM

Lobsters should be raced down a picnic table and into the pot at the end of the table.
Alternately, if you're not feeling like you're 8 years old, the pot should have 2 inches or so of water and be boiling before you place the lobsters in.

No, there is no poison part of their brain that should be removed first.
No, they don't scream.
Yes, technically this is technically Death By Sauna. If this bothers you, perhaps you should not have ordered lobster. There are many other choices.

Posted by: Kid first, Fish Market mgr second | July 20, 2007 10:08 AM

I realize that being a vegetarian is a very personal choice, and that choice can occasionally have positive ecological benefits, okay? I've got plenty of friends who are vegetarians, I've regrettably seen chicken producing farms, and my sister has a horrible allergy to whatever it is they put into non-organically grown beef these days, so I know the food industry is not perfect.

But for those who equate eating animals with cruelty to animals, I've got a little experiment for you.

Open your mouth a little bit. Run your finger along the chewing edges of your teeth.

You'll note you have relatively sharper teeth in the front, and flat, grinding surfaces in the back.

That's an *omnivorous* mouth you're handling. As in our teeth are designed to eat both animal flesh and vegetable matter. If our metabolism required we eat nothing but vegetable matter, we'd have a radically different mouth.

Am I saying we should eat meat sandwiches with a side of meat and a meat shake? No. But consuming the occasional piece of fish (including shellfish), poultry or beef is not against nature!

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 20, 2007 10:08 AM

Yeah, whatever, DC. Have a steak and stop trying to be so different. Humans eat meat, stop trying to alter what we humans have been doing since we got here. jeesh.

Posted by: Me | July 20, 2007 10:09 AM

I'm vegan, but I don't understand how any omnivore can justify being concerned about how lobsters die but not about the other animal products they eat. If you're really interested in reducing animal suffering, stop eating chicken (and eggs), because they are the most mistreated of any food animal.

Posted by: julia | July 20, 2007 10:09 AM

"As Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, points out, "Live lobster is one of the last feasts still harvested in a sustainable fashion directly from nature by individuals, not corporations, and sold absolutely fresh, without processing.""

Hmmmmm....what about my weekly trips to the farmers markets? I can make a fabulous feast out of what can be found there and it is harvested sustainably, directly from nature by individuals, and sold fresh without processing.

Posted by: Washington | July 20, 2007 10:10 AM

You couldn't find a pot big enough to fit vaherder's mouth.

Posted by: Just sayin | July 20, 2007 10:13 AM

To Billy Pilgrim - they should be able to ship - it's done overnight with dry ice or shipping-designed ice packages. I used to ship lobsters from Cape Cod to the midwest. It's pricy of course, because 3lb lobster pus the weight of the ice, plus shipping can pop you into $30+ for your own live lobster that you now need to find a big enough pot to cook.

But there's nothing like New England lobsters, are there?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 10:13 AM

By being vegan, think of all the food you're taking away from all the plant-eating animals.

You know what the best thing to do would be? To stop eating alltogether! Yeah, that's it! If you don't eat, you're helping all the other animals in the world. Awsome, I think I'll start that movement. I need a good name for it though. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Me | July 20, 2007 10:15 AM

They're delicious no matter which way you cook 'em. But let's not overlook their insect-ness. A lobster is to a crawdaddy as a crawdaddy is to a mite, the only difference among them is size.

So, the real question of the day is how to grow and harvest all of those mites so that we can enjoy our "crustaceans" every day of the week, no matter how far we are from the ocean.

Wait a minute...Hillary has cleavage? Never noticed that!

Posted by: Rocco | July 20, 2007 10:34 AM

There is nothing wrong with respecting an animal you are going to kill for food even if it is "just" a lobster. I think a real sickness would be a society that mocks people that do so.

Most recreational hunters and fisherman appreciate the animals they prey on and don't seek to prolong the process of putting them down when it is time to do so - otherwise would be sadistic and those are people that should be shunned, not someone that pauses to wonder if there's a faster and less painful way they could kill their prey.

I had a friend that would only eat meat from animals they had at least once killed themselves before, and I admire the idea that if you wouldn't have it in you to kill something yourself then you have no business eating it. I think it underscores how far removed people have become from the food they eat in the age of factory farming.

Posted by: Noonan | July 20, 2007 10:37 AM

Crabs scream when you steam them, it takes longer for them to die in the steam than in boiling water. But they do taste great.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | July 20, 2007 10:40 AM

Hey numbnuts (vaherder), humans survived thousands of years without guns through agriculture and hunting using bladed weapons and arrows. Guns just upped the ante and made it less work, but necessary for everyone to have one to protect themselves with other people with guns. Your fat a$$ wouldn't survive 5 minutes in the wild without your gun.

Posted by: Rosslyn | July 20, 2007 10:42 AM

I prefer to split lobsters in half, not out of some humanitarian gesture, but because I prefer them broiled with breadcrumbs rather than boiled.

As for those who find eating meat unethical, they should ask themselves whether other predators like cats and dogs are unethical when they kill for food. Those who claim that humans are natural vegetarians know nothing of evolution. Eating meat comes naturally to people, and while we have developed some unethical ways of raising and slaughtering them, there is nothing inherently immoral with killing animals for food.

Posted by: John | July 20, 2007 10:55 AM

"Yeah, whatever, DC. Have a steak and stop trying to be so different. Humans eat meat, stop trying to alter what we humans have been doing since we got here. jeesh."

Why the attack on "DC"? I mean they stated right in their post that they weren't judging others in choosing to be a vegetarian. How ignorant it is to assume that people don't eat meat "just to be different". I'm not one myself but it really amazes me how defensive some people get about vegetarianism - I'd love to know what exactly is so threatening about it to some people. Why would a big manly meat-eater be so scared of a witty bitty vegetarian unless they are a bully with no tolerance for people that are different than them?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 10:59 AM

Because in Washington, people only have tolerance for other people that think EXACTLY like them. Everybody is absolutely correct about everything.

Posted by: Bethesda, MD | July 20, 2007 11:03 AM

Crabs and lobsters don't scream dumb-dumbs - that is steam escaping from their shells. Anyone without enough common sense to figure that out shouldn't be driving a boat.

Posted by: Delmarva | July 20, 2007 11:03 AM

That's true "just sayin"...it would be mean to the collies too. Maybe it'd be better just to use him as fertilizer to feed plants for the vegetarians to eat.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 11:22 AM

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Yeah, from a man whose country worships cows while watching its children starve.

Maybe Gandhi should have focused his efforts on actually feeding his people at a level above mere subsistence, rather than philosphizing on the nature of man's "moral progress".

Posted by: YeahRight | July 20, 2007 11:39 AM

I don't think it is stupid or outrageous to worry about causing pain to another creature. I'm not an extremist, but I believe those are legitimate concerns for caring, intelligent people. The Post cannot just brush aside in a callous and laughing manner certain viewpoints just because it feels it can. Maybe you should examine your editorial policies?

Posted by: Ted | July 20, 2007 11:50 AM

Chasmosaur, you can put them to sleep by rubbing their forehead (right above the eyes). After a few seconds, the claws and feelers droop.

Mmmm, this is making me hungry for my summer pilgramage home. Lobsters, scallops, shrimp, clams, swordfish...I can't wait!

Posted by: Mainer in DC | July 20, 2007 11:52 AM

"Sleeeeeep....Sleeeeeep". Fricken hilareous.

Jon, was that "incest" slip Freudian? Please stay away from children.

For those of you that view eating as a morally repugnant thing, I would suggest that you immediately partake in the Jainist ritual Sallekhana.

Posted by: leesburger | July 20, 2007 12:02 PM

Some day we will look at the way we treat animals with the same horror as we look at slavery today.

Posted by: Karl | July 20, 2007 12:33 PM

I prefer to cook lobsters on the grill. I normally split them in half, which is a bit messy but in the end results in better lobster. The first time I cooked them outside, though, it seemed like splitting them would be a lot of trouble, so I just snipped off the little rubber bands that hold the claws closed and then put the live lobsters on the grill and closed the lid. I have no doubt that the latter is probably the least humane method around, but it was certainly convenient. My brother used that method on a camping trip once and said that the only troubling aspect was that he could hear the lobsters trying to crawl off the grill away from the heat (hence why one must close the lid). His solution was to have another beer :-)

I really don't much like cooking lobster inside because it heats up the kitchen.

Most recently I've come to prefer buying just the lobster tail. While the claw meat is generally the best, cooking just the tails is so much easier and more convenient that I'd just rather do it that way, and for all the moral relativists out there, you can console yourself in not knowing how the creature met its end.

Posted by: Rich | July 20, 2007 12:36 PM

How about lethal injection?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 12:43 PM

I'm a vegetarian not because it tastes better or makes me healthier but because to eat animals because you prefer the taste regardless of the suffering of the animal who died for your pleasure is for me unconscionable. Particularly when we have the means to select alternative foods which don't involve suffering.

What's the difference between Michael Vick raising fighting dogs to die for the amusement of people, and raising animals to die for the enjoyment of people?

Posted by: Dr. F. | July 20, 2007 12:52 PM

Rocco: Hillary is still a dog, not matter what she wears.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 12:55 PM

the difference? A pound of melted butter. MMMM

Posted by: Leesburger | July 20, 2007 12:56 PM

And somehow being nice to cows did not stop India from developing nuclear weapons. Go figure.

It is a very shallow mine that treats the words of important historical people as if they were the Words of God. And of course the leader of an independence movement would never be biased towards his own country. Never.

Thanks to Wagner, the Nazis got this idea that vegetarianism was an ideal for the master race. Consequently, Hitler was a vegetarian, and quite an enthusiastic one at that. If that "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" is true, then I must conclude this is an inverse relationship. And PETA seems to confirmed this.

Posted by: joe | July 20, 2007 1:05 PM

And somehow being nice to cows did not stop India from developing nuclear weapons. Go figure.

It is a very shallow mine that treats the words of important historical people as if they were the Words of God. And of course the leader of an independence movement would never be biased towards his own country. Never.

Thanks to Wagner, the Nazis got this idea that vegetarianism was an ideal for the master race. Consequently, Hitler was a vegetarian, and quite an enthusiastic one at that. If that "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" is true, then I must conclude this is an inverse relationship. And PETA seems to confirm this.

Posted by: joe | July 20, 2007 1:08 PM

*sigh* There really isn't a good way to put a lobster "to sleep", folks. (My friend was hardly serious since he grew up in New England and is familiar with lobster preparation.)
http://www.lobster.um.maine.edu/index.php?page=22

A lobster is still alive when it hits the water if you don't take steps to kill it just before it hits the pot. (To prevent illness, lobster meat must be cooked from a freshly killed animal - there is no way around this unless you want to buy prepared lobster meat.) So the trick is to kill it just before cooking, or to find the most humane way to minimize any apparent suffering.

It is recommended to put the lobster on ice or pop it in the freezer or (but don't freeze it) for anywhere from 5-15 minutes before cooking - the thought is this slows down their metabolism and/or numbs them to near death.

Then drop it (some people say head-first) into salted water at a *full rolling boil*.

If you are confident with lobsters and good knives, you can use a "knife kill" method before putting the lobster in the pot. (see a good explanation at
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118375568129659493.html) Done properly, this method kills them quickly and humanely. If you aren't comfortable with the knife method (see http://www.zug.com/scrawl/lobster/), then skip it, because it's the total opposite of humane.

With the water at a rolling boil, the animal appears to die almost instantaneously. Don't believe the story that putting it in cold water and heating it up is more humane - it only prolongs the death, it doesn't lull them to sleep.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 20, 2007 1:24 PM

Grinding up vaherder and feeding him to the plants would only kill the plants. And the EPA might declare the place a Superfund site.

Posted by: Butthead | July 20, 2007 1:27 PM

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 20, 2007 1:28 PM

If Hillary Clinton is eating lobster and some butter drips into her cleavage, should you call it to her attention?

Posted by: Butthead | July 20, 2007 1:29 PM

Well, what my cousin and I normally do is race them, with the winner getting to go into the pot first, and the loser having to watch the agony and hear the silent screams, knowing that his fate is sealed.

But that's just because, apparently, I'm ridiculously cruel.

Posted by: Bob Turney | July 20, 2007 1:40 PM

Cleavage? Hillary Clinton? No matter how low-cut her top, there seems nothing to see there, folks.

Posted by: I vomit at the thought | July 20, 2007 1:44 PM

I think MF's object was to demonstrate how much time people waste on absolute nonsense. His lengthy discussion to make his point and the posts in response to it have shown just that: there is a large group of "adults" (apparently me among them) who spend a great deal of energy and emotion considering the merits of lobsters and lost pants.

Posted by: Scilicet | July 20, 2007 2:02 PM

To Mainer in DC:

Mmmm - lobster rolls at Red's Eats in Wiscasset.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 2:28 PM

Every time I've driven by Red's Eats, the line to place orders has been long-long-long. Too long to justify spending all the time in line. If you get Downeast as far as Blue Hill, I recommend the Fish Net.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 20, 2007 2:52 PM

*sigh* lobster rolls.

You think there's a chance they'll open up a lobster shack out here in Western Wisconsin to replace the "Brat(wurst) Hut"'s?

One can hope/dream....

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 20, 2007 3:08 PM

This whole post is about how Americans "focus instead of the sort of trivial concerns that only the rich and idle could possibly care about..."

Scilicet, that is exactly the point. A hundred and fifty years ago, we'd be too busy working in the fields to ever worry about the ethics of food-prep. No one but Maine fisherman would be eating lobster, with no dry ice or Fed-Ex to get them to us in time for dinner. There wouldn't be refrigerators to store our leftovers or to store our non-pasteurized butter for melting. I've viewed this whole thread as the comedy of the extravagence and hubris of the idle and wealthy.

Posted by: Leesburger | July 20, 2007 3:12 PM

Lobster turns my poo green and liquidy, with all sorts of chunks in it. Sometimes there's worm-like strands that hang from the poo chunks. So what I do is reach in the toilet and pull out the poo chunks by the worm-like strands and sit it on my window sill to dry out. Then I take the dried out poo chunks and light them with my matches, the aroma is so soothing. ahhhhhh.

Posted by: Yo | July 20, 2007 3:18 PM

Hey vaherder, how was that fantasy trip to Monte Carlo? Did your girlfriend get quarantined at the airport? I have one question for you: you posted one of your famous ignorant spews on one of Kim O'Donnell's vegetarian blogs mouthing-off about how you feed your family meat. But when you stated that you were going to take your "girlfriend" to Monte Carlo and you asked another blogger if s/he wanted to house sit, you failed to mention anything about what you were going to with "the family". You are so full of sheepsh*t that you seem to be forgetting parts of your previous stories. You couldn't lie your way out of a wet paper bag.

Posted by: Just sayin | July 20, 2007 6:19 PM

Rosslyn,

Come out to real VA sometime bubba! By the time you got to Manassas some good ole boy would have put a bullet in the unoccupied space between your ears when you asked him if we would like to help you reenact scenes from your favorite movie Deliverance. Still having those Ned Beatty fantasies in your wonderfully spacious jr studio condo which is only worth 25% of what you originally paid for it? My tractor has a larger garage than your sutdio condo. Have a great weekend and get your order in bubba Deliverance will be released in HD soon!

Posted by: vaherder | July 20, 2007 9:57 PM

Sorry bubbette dont participate in Kim's chats since she never hosts a meat lovers chat. I was in Monte Carlo back a few years ago for the F1 race as a guest of BMW though. Have a great weekend!

Posted by: vaherder | July 20, 2007 10:05 PM

Nobody needs to eat lobsters or any other animal for that matter. And no, being vegan does not take veggies away from animals - factory farms feed more grain to animals that most people eat than people have available in some nations. Why not eat fewer animals, less of everything. Remember, a gluttonous civilization typically does not survive.

Posted by: kati | July 21, 2007 6:51 AM

Yo, are you trying to tell us that you defecate vaherder?

Posted by: Yo Mama | July 22, 2007 1:56 AM

Astonishingly, there are people who really do think that we shouldn't care about "smaller" issues such as animal welfare until the "big" ones are solved.

I don't think I can be of much use in the war on terror (I'm definitely not military material, either), it is too late for me to choose a career in cancer or AIDS research, and my lowest-tax-bracket salary combined with student loans aren't allowing me to do very much to combat world hunger and homelessness beyond contributing some man-hours. So I ask - why shouldn't someone like me (or someone like you, despite your higher salary) care about animal welfare? It is actually an issue I can do something about. Were people to follow your line of thinking we'd be a society who does seemingly little to even try to improve the world at all...

By analogy: Should we not prosecute domestic abusers, white-collar criminals, and pedophiles until all murderers are behind bars?

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