Consider the Lobster

We all make ethical decisions about the food we eat. Some people eat only plant material, some draw the line at animal products that do not result in the death of the animal (e.g.dairy and eggs). The rest of us still draw the line somewhere. Perhaps it is animals considered as companions such as cats,  dogs, or horses. For many it includes primates and other animals such as whales and dolphins, in consideration of their intelligence and/or their scarcity. Others may eat only those animals that have been reared and killed humanely. Certainly, it is only a very small number who, today, would consider eating other humans.

Photo by Paula Ouder, courtesy Louisiana Sea Grant College Program via Flickr

In the August 2004 Gourmet Magazine, David Foster Wallace first published Consider the Lobster, an essay in putatively about the annual Maine Lobster Fest. However, he moves into a discussion of the ethics of boiling a creature alive and a description of lobster sensory neurons. The essay was included in Wallace’s collection also entitled Consider the Lobster.

In our society, only a few arthropods, such as lobster and crab are considered edible, most are rejected mostly for the ick factor.

The comic makes even more sense when you consider the origin if of the word ‘lobster‘.

It is thought, that Old English loppestre, the ancestor of lobster, was formed from locusta and the suffix -estre used to make agent nouns (our -ster). The change from Latin locusta to Old English loppestre may have been influenced by Old English loppe, meaning “spider.”

Me? I’m a ‘good’ maritimer, and enjoy very little better than a good feed of Homarus americanus.

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