Sympathy for Lobsters?

Anyone ever wonder if lobsters feel pain while they are being boiled alive? I’m no biologist or crustacean expert but it seems like they have pretty primitive nervous systems, being crustaceans and all. I wonder, do they even notice? Do they even possess a dim resemblance to what we would call consciousness?

BTW, if you’ve heard about lobsters screaming shrilly while being boiled alive it’s a myth.

Lobsters are widely considered to be not too bright, but there’s no logical reason they wouldn’t feel pain. They do have nerves, and they do react to painful stimulus by moving away, becoming aggressive and other things that people do when they’re in pain.

…and they’re delicious with butter and garlic. I see no reason humans should be the only animals to give a crap if their food has feelings.

If they didn’t want to be boiled alive, they shouldn’t be so delicious.

Their hideous insect-like appearance should be enough to drive people away. They’re the cockroaches of the sea!

Absolutely. You should trap all you can and send them far away from you. Like, to me. You’ll need some dry ice… :smiley:

They live in the ocean along with other horrible creatures and I’m okay with that.

Back when I worked in a (very upscale) dining hall in college, my co-workers and I boiled so many lobsters (especially near the end of a semester, when people are in use-it-or-lose-it mode with their meal plans) that I often joked that we would be the first ones executed when the lobster revolution started.

I did occasionally feel bad for them, but let’s face it, a lobster is pretty much just a big bug. A lobster dying to be eaten is dying for a better purpose than most bugs people swat or step on.

If you don’t want the lobsters to feal pain, I’ve heard of putting them in the freezer for a few minutes before boiling to make numb them and force them into hibernation.

Consciousness? The only Descartes a lobster recognizes are the ones at desupermarkets.

Mmmmm… existential lobster.

They’re sold in markets where I have to shoulder past horrible creatures just to get to them and I’m okay with that.

Once, I was just about to drop my lobster in the pot of boiling water, when I started to consider his (her? its?) feelings about the matter.

So, I changed my mind. I took him to the forest and set him free.

I still feel really good about that.

If you’re not into biology or philosophy (I’m not) you might be surprised how complicated these debates get. How you define pain and how you define consciousness is important. But here’s an interesting read and a good overview: “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace. I don’t have a dog in this fight because I’m a vegetarian and wouldn’t eat them anyway, but it seems to me there is some reason to believe the lobsters are trying to stay alive.

Well, they do make a noise. It just isn’t a scream. It’s apparently air and water escaping from their shells.

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a crustacean of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a crab’s soul and faith

</Mick Zoidberg>


I actually went to great lengths once to research the least painful way to kill one. So yes, I do care, but I still intend to eat one any chance I get.

There are those who will tell you that stabbing them in the head before boiling is kindest, but they are wrong. The lobster brain is tiny, and the chances of actually hitting it dismal. The best way I found is the fast plunge into vigorously boiling water.

Those people who put them in a strainer above cold water and bring it slowly to a boil are pure sadists and should be punished. There is a difference between killing to eat and wanton cruelty.

For all the horrors of the modern slaughterhouse, I’m betting it beats being stabbed in the shoulder with a spear and then chased, wounded, for a day and a half before being finally eviscerated. We can do better, and we should be held responsible for it.

I eat, therefore it is.

Oddly enough, we’ve done this before …

Some of these are real old & probably ought not be re-awakened with new replies.

Lobster sympathizer! Soon you’re going to be demanding that they get the right to vote, I bet.

I do feel bad for them and avoid eating them even though they’re delicious. If it were possible to prove that they don’t feel pain I would eat them, but I don’t think that it is and I’m not going to roll the dice and hope that I’m not torturing something to death. The article Marley linked to says it takes them 30-45 seconds to die in a pot of boiling water. That’s a lot of potential agony. :frowning:

So you’re the one who is responsible for the Tree Lobsters. :stuck_out_tongue:

I oppose this. They’ll just vote in their own best interests. Next, they will demand the right to marry- humans and each other!

I don’t like to seem them all crowded together in their aquariums, either. I’m an omnivore, but I’m eagerly awaiting the day when they develop vat meat that has no relation to living animals except for being delicious.