Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Because calling it a Shellectric Chair would just be silly...

Eating a lobster is the ultimate act of the carnivore. Nowhere else (unless you believe about those websites in the Far East) can you look at a selection of living creatures, choose one, point at it and say "That one, the fat one; kill it, cook it, and bring it to me, for I am hungry". Similarly, when they bring it to you, they bring it to you whole. Cut open, perhaps, filled with stuffing (often made of OTHER similar animals, too small to sell on their own) but there's no denying you're eating an until-recently-living thing. You could try to convince yourself that a steak wasn't part of a larger creature if you really felt the need, but they don't even cut the dangly bits off of a lobster.

But many well-meaning busybodies bemoan the fate of the poor crustacean, claiming the methods used to kill them (boiling them alive, or keeping them in a frozen torpor UNTIL boiled alive) are cruel and vicious. Many have bought lobsters from restaurants and released them into the sea (where they likely die of the pollution of the cites they're not used to, or just eaten by larger animals, but it's the thought that counts). They can't get past the idea that these over sized aquatic insects aren't being given the dignity of a torture free death.

No fear - a gentleman in England has a solution.  He has invented a device that electrocutes the little darlings, so they don't have to endure the experience of being boiled alive.

It's called The Crustastun, and its unveiling was covered in the UK in The Independent.

Professor Douglas Neil of the University of Glasgow said that studies he has performed for the company that makes the machine demonstrate that electrocution is the quickest way of ending any signs of nervous activity in edible crustaceans – an indication of a clean death.
 Indeed, the last thing I would want to eat is a nervous lobster.

This is another example of a cause that exists only because we have too much time on our hands.  Just a century or two ago people were too busy not starving to wonder if the animals they were catching and eating felt morose about their fate.

Of course, the same amount of time ago, lobsters were peasant food, some disgusting mud-dwelling creature that no sensible person would put in his mouth.  So I imagine mindsets do change, usually with the assistance of a properly-executed marketing campaign. 

Do I have a problem with this invention? Not at all. Human ingenuity has found a need and filled it - it's the definition of business. Do I want them to use it on MY lobster?

Only if I can watch.


  1. No doubt this will brand me as a heartless lobster killer (now I have "Psycho Killer" in my head), but I don't care -- I laughed out loud! You hit the nail on the proverbial head: in our modern, overly-caring-about-the-wrong-things world, some people have way the hell too much time on their hands. I find myself imagining our beloved ITRD? figurehead as another Charles Laughton character, Henry VIII, gorging on lobster with his bare hands without the least bit of concern for the big mudbugs... :-)

  2. Please welcome our newest Follower, who goes by the handle "tlessick" and has a loved one in the autism spectrum just like Your Humble Editors. Thanks for joining in the ITRD conversation!

  3. OK, someone around here is gonna have to do it. Might as well be me.

    "Well, what lobster 'ave you got that isn't jugged?"


    "What . . . rabbit lobster?"

    "Well, it's got claws."

    "Is it dead?"

    "Well, it was coughing up blood last night."

    (If anything else, confirming that not only are the British the WRONG PEOPLE to be developing something like the Crustastun, they are paradoxically the ONLY PEOPLE who would do so.)

    (And this, mind you, from the same people who've given us blood pudding.)

  4. Michael, I laughed out loud! Never a dull moment with those comical Brits, or you! :-)

  5. Yeah, I'm a bit concerned about killing a lobster, but I just choose to not watch!

  6. I hear ya, D! I prefer the lobsters when they're in a lobster roll and therefore all but unrecognizable as the big (but tasty) mudbugs they are! :-)

  7. Who ever thought of one of those ugly things as something to eat anyway -- must have been a REALLY hungry person to even think there was something edible inside there! I guess I'm heartless too, because I think many have too much time on their hands as well. Loved your remark about pollution! I mean, what do the people who go to MacDonald's or even expensive steak houses, think about what happened to the cow? It didn't die of old age, that's for sure.

    The Crustastun -- oh my God! I'm put in mind of a saint the sisters told us about who was boiled alive, and I don't think anybody felt that kind of concern for HIM! Even I can't remember his name -- what a sicko world sometimes! LOL!