22 October 2005

Slay the lamb to protect the beast

There is not nearly enough outrage at the slaughter of 100,000,000 sharks per year! I've never had fin soup but I also don't eat baby seal burgers. In general the chicken isn't as good here in Brazil so I eat lots of cows (this to the horror of my sister who claims chickens have a reason to die, namely they are delicious, while cows do not, namely they are cuter and not so tasty to her. She has been saying it since she was 7 years old.) I've come up with the following rather incomplete spectrum of human perspective on eating edible material (those of us without pica)

  • Vegetables - Line 'em up and knock 'em down
  • Sharks - Kill for fun, kill for "beach safety," kill for sport, kill for food, kill kill kill!
  • Chickens - Grow them without claws or beaks, put them in tiny cages and then kill them. (actually an urban legend but if you don't click my links then you might just believe it)
  • Cows - A little more forgiving. In fact, open range meat is becoming more popular. Let them live a decent life and then slaughter them.
  • Baby seals - Okay so no one really eats them... but why not? They might taste good.
The very general trend is that the more mammilian and more pet-like the animal, the more guilt we feel from filleting it up. Amongst mammals, guilt also increases with the likelihood that the animal would be found in the zoo. Unfortunately, sharks are the only thing on the list (that we eat) that we don't grow in captivity. So we are pretty much cleaning up the ocean of one of its top level predators... I hope that doesn't screw everything up or you can say good-bye to the surf-and-turf dinner!

Want to see how the odds of shark death stack up to other causes of death (in Australia of all places!). Click here and note that drowning death in the ocean is several hundred times more likely than being killed by a shark.

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