• My place In the world

    Like Clint Eastwood, I too, talk to the trees — I always have. I also talk to the hummingbirds as they make their frequent pit stops on the patio, the geese as they fly overhead, and the resident squirrel as he strolls by on the phone cable.

    And, of course, those four hairy, irrepressible members of Crew McStone are among my closest confidantes, as are the members of the resident flock here at Zoomanji. It does seem that my ideas and thoughts are often deemed for the birds, or that I am barking up the wrong tree, but that’s OK.

    Speciesism holds the same moral fog of ambiguity that racism does. Speciesism is the tragic myth that puts forth the lie that one species contains all the superiority that other species do not inherently have. The lie that one species holds all the intelligence, all the worth, all the integrity, all the moral character and all the rights to live with freedom and choices that is privileged unto the one species that all other species may not have.
    I have never felt that way — ever!

    For ages, we have “known” that shellfish do not feel pain. Accordingly, we boil them alive, and fisherman in certain cultures simply catch them, remove their claws, and toss them back into the water alive.
    Well, it turns out we were wrong.

    Researchers recently captured a small group of crabs, and introduced them into a small habitat, complete with individual “caves.” As expected, the crabs sought refuge in the caves pretty quickly.
    Some of the crabs were subjected to mild, 10-volt electric shocks. Those that were subjected to shocks pretty quickly left their caves, while those that were not stayed put.

    Subsequently, all the crabs were removed from the habitat and put back in — and the crabs that had been shocked remembered, and would not return to, the places where they had been shocked.

    What does this mean? It means that we have boiled alive thinking, feeling creatures for thousands of years — billions and billions of crabs, lobster, shrimp and crawdads.

    I wonder what the cumulative sound of all those “screams” would be, what all those clicking tails and snapping claws would sound like? Of course, we’ll never know what even one would sound like since it is always brutally muffled by boiling water…

    Barbaric. Turns out that eating shellfish is an abomination after all…

    Worse, perhaps, is that it has been repeatedly done by so many of us who wring our hands over dogs and horses being eaten for food, the treatment of wild wolves and wild horses, whaling, and a variety of other mistreatments of animals.

    It ends here. As much as I like all of them, never again for me. Turns out, I love each of them even more.

    But does it just end there? Is there really any “humane” way to dispatch any of our food animals? I think not.

    So, am I in for a penny, or in for a pound?

    Does it make any difference that some of them would kill and eat me, given half a chance, including my main totem, the Bear, or perhaps a mountain lion or wild boar?
    Again, I think not.


    Goddamn, I had never even remotely thought of myself as becoming one until I listened to that initial report about the crabs.

    Eggs. Cheese. Rice, fruits, vegetables. Legumes. Yogurt. Tofu.

    I think I know how this is going to go, and very soon. Maybe I am doing better with my spirituality than I thought…

    • You are on your way to becoming an excellent Buddhist!

      • David Weinshilboum

      • January 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm
      • Reply

      Great reflection piece. If you haven’t already, you must, must, MUST read “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace.

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