But first …
On National Lobster Day, let lobsters live
By Paula Moore
One would think that federal lawmakers have enough on their plates tackling hot topics like DACA, health care and tax reform, but the U.S. Senate still found time to unanimously approve a resolution designating September 25 “National Lobster Day.”
The best way to celebrate this rare show of unity is to leave lobsters in peace. No matter which side of the aisle we’re on, surely we can all agree that boiling any animal alive is cruel in the extreme — including lobsters.
While lobsters, crabs and other crustaceans may seem very different from us, in the ways that truly matter, their similarities to us might surprise you.
Lobsters are “marvelously complex,” according to lobster biologist Anita Kim, and ”quite amazingly smart animals,” according to researcher Michael Kuba. They use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships. They carry their young for around nine months, have been known to travel great distances and can live as long as 100 years.
And can they feel pain? You bet your sweet pincers they can.
We’ve known for years that crustaceans feel pain. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that they’re capable of experiencing both pain and distress and recommended that steps be taken to lessen their suffering whenever possible.
In 2009, Dr. Robert W. Elwood of Queen’s University Belfast, a leading authority on the subject of pain in crustaceans, published papers on this issue in the journals Animal Behaviour and Applied Animal Behaviour Science. “With vertebrates we are asked to err on the side of caution and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans,” he wrote.
Anyone who has ever seen lobsters in the process of being boiled alive can attest to the fact that when they’re dropped into scalding-hot water, they struggle frantically and claw at the sides of the pot in a desperate attempt to escape.
Scientists have confirmed that such reactions are panic and pain responses. And what’s worse, the lobsters likely suffer for every second of the three long minutes that it takes for them to die.
But you don’t need to be an animal expert to recognize that lobsters suffer when they’re boiled alive—you just have to be honest. In his classic essay “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace wrote, “[A]fter all the abstract intellection, there remain the facts of the frantically clanking lid, the pathetic clinging to the edge of the pot. Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain.”
Despite all this evidence, the U.S. and Canada kill an estimated 250 million lobsters every single year.
But we don’t have to. This National Lobster Day — and beyond — we, like Wallace, can pause and consider the lobster and all the other animals upon whom we casually inflict violence (or pay others to) for a fleeting taste of their flesh. And then we can stop eating them. It’s really that simple.
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Oct. 12 at Clark: Public lecture by noted political ‘spin’ scholar, author, journalist
Greenberg to present ‘History of White House Spin: From the Bully Pulpit to the Age of Trump’
Political historian David Greenberg will explain the origins and development of presidential communications — from the Progressive Era to digital media, talk radio, Twitter, and more — in a free, public lecture titled, “History of White House Spin: From the Bully Pulpit to the Age of Trump,” beginning at 4:30 Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Higgins Lounge of Dana Commons, Clark University.
Greenberg is professor of history, and of journalism and media studies, at Rutgers University. He is author the prize-winning “Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image” and the “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency,” which won the George Orwell Award, the Goldsmith Book Prize, and the Ray and Pat Browne Book Prize.
Formerly an acting editor of the New Republic, Greenberg has been a regular contributor to such publications as Politico, The New York Times, and Washington Post.
The holidays will be here before you know it:
SNAP BIRTHDAY PARTY!
There is a different kind of birthday party being thrown on the steps of the Massachusetts State Capitol.
Food bankers, anti-hunger advocates, and legislators are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the modern food stamps program on the State House steps.
Food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was signed into law on September 29, 1977.
The Food Stamp Act had significant bipartisan support and is a testament to successful public policy making.
The event will feature everything a classic birthday party should have; including cake, balloons, birthday songs, and a photo booth.
The public is welcome to stop by to celebrate the program’s success in lifting people out of poverty by snapping a selfie in the photo booth or by recording a testimonial of their connection to the program.
WHAT: 40th Birthday Party for SNAP
WHEN: Tomorrow! Tuesday, September 26, 12:30 pm – 1 pm
WHERE: State House Steps, Massachusetts State Capitol
WHO: The Food Bank Coalition of MA, Mass Law Reform Institute, Mass Public Health Association, Project Bread
About the Food Bank Coalition of Massachusetts:
The statewide Food Bank Coalition, made up of The Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Merrimack Valley Food Bank and The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and serving a network of 850 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, providing emergency food for the one in 10 food insecure people living in Massachusetts.
About the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI):
The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide nonprofit poverty law and policy center. Its mission is to advance economic, racial and social justice through legal action, policy advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach. MLRI specializes in large-scale legal initiatives and systemic reforms that address the root causes of poverty, remove barriers to opportunity, and create a path to economic stability and mobility for low-income individuals, families and communities.
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