With all of the hullabaloo about the recent spiny lobster season and how lucrative it is for Florida’s economy, there is a major viewpoint that is sorely missing — that of the lobsters.
No matter what you think of these spiny creatures or how often you eat them, there is no denying they are conscious creations that perceive and experience pain. And horrifically, despite substantial evidence of this fact, the most common way to cook lobsters remains boiling them alive. People rush to defend this practice or deny that the lobsters actually suffer at all, but science affirms they are fully aware when placed in hot water and struggle to escape. There’s a reason many people cook lobsters with a lid sealed tightly over a pot — partly to prevent the lobsters from escaping, and partly to spare themselves the sight of watching something they know is cruel.
I don’t mean to be accusatory — I believe most people are good and don’t want to harm an innocent animal, lobster or not. But when we ignore our better instincts to not torture any living creature, we degrade ourselves and all of the things — higher intelligence, powers of reasoning, empathy, morality — that are supposed to separate us from other lifeforms and truly make us special.
Putting any live creature into scalding water is nothing short of torture. Not only does it happen regularly, it’s socially acceptable and often joked about. And those who express concern for the lobsters’ treatment are too often attacked, insulted or dismissed.
Am I against killing and eating lobsters for food? No. But slowly boiling them to death is appalling, barbaric and has no place in 21st century cookery or popular culture. If you plan to cook any lobster ever again, listen to your better angels and spare them the pain and suffering of a boiling pot of water. It’s the most humane — and human — thing you can do.