I am a veterinary technician in the making and concerned about the explosion of live food outlets all over the world points a glaring picture of humanity’s insatiable appetite, where individuals have no qualms destroying the natural environment. Apart from devouring forests and non-renewable energy, human society has deteriorated into eating live animals, especially those brought from the sea. It means coastal communities have developed a growing demand for live mollusks, crustaceans that are destined for mutilation in eateries and on plates by hungry Americans.
It is worth noting that such activities have not gone unnoticed as animal welfare groups have routinely criticized this growing market segment, using logical reasons which will be explored in this literature review. It is important to note that live animals have constantly been used for the sake of science, which is allowed owing to the usefulness of research information and efforts. I am very interested in deciphering the association between the moral decisions taken by regular consumers of live seafood and the cultural history underlying the practice. It is through an in-depth analysis of literary articles that I will understand the context and inspiration behind the thriving life-food industry. It is also important to uncover the opinions of many journalists and individuals in the world. The practice has even taken root in the digital platforms, where consumers of such foods have no qualms posting images or videos of squirming arms of octopuses in the social media accounts, growing condemnation and praise in equal measure.
The debate about eating live seafood has even found its way into contemporary literary publications, illustrating the extent of its place in modern culture. Killingsworth, a writer for the New Yorker, notes that Ben Lerner’s latest novel, 10:04, ensues with the consumption of a baby octopus as lunch in an expensive Chelsea diner. It is the book that exposes the deliberations concerning such a meal, where the narrator contemplates the absurdity of the meal, designed to celebrate an auspicious occasion. It is such an occasion that illustrates the depravity of mankind, which is concerned with eating species even without embracing the wonderful attributes associated with such creatures. For instance, Killingsworth is quick to point out that octopus as a species has substantiated records of amazing intelligence levels when compared to their deep-sea-faring counterparts. The writer goes on to demonstrate that octopus has been renowned for opening jars or even guarding unhatched eggs for years-on-end in the course of conducting their maternal diligence. If that is not enough, the similarities of these animals to humans do not end there as they can even demonstrate personalities apart from utilizing curious mannerisms that take our breath away.
It is worth noting that the consumption of live food revert humanity back to its dark ages when archaeologists are quick to mention that humans have been eating crustaceans, evidenced by the findings of shells and bones. It was prudent for the earlier civilizations to take advantage of natural resources, leading to the entry of lobsters, crayfish, and oysters. It is ironic that the current society has lost direction and embraced new cultures, exposing them to health complications at best. This is because live animals can bite
In another article, Eriksen notes that the consumption of live sea animals is judged according to the scale of its grotesque nature rather than taste. It means that the more awkward the eating experience, the more dollars one would have to produce for such an eating experience. It is even better understood when certain attitudes have cropped up, propagated by the media in normalizing the consumption of live cephalopods. It is important to note that movies, documentaries and reality shows have constantly depicted the consumption of live animals, noted by the prominence and popularity of such shows. The author continues to mention that food tourism has become a thriving sport, intent to display acts of virility, even graduating to eating live insects and even snakes.
Eriksen notes that some countries have laws against such mistreatment of sea animals, especially in the Faroe Islands. He notes that a Danish journalist was almost jailed by the legal system in the course of enforcing animal rights legislation. The consumption of live animals has attracted debate as sides contemplate on their capacity to feel pain. Eriksen notes that scientists are in agreement that all mammals and birds can experience torrid pain and even face bouts of mental suffering. Sea animals such as Octopus have been found to possess amazing abilities, compounded by large brains and inquisitive nature. In another article, Nolen notes that octopus can even escape from Houdini-like prisons from their aquariums. It is the mystery surrounding these animals that have even led to the adoption of the animal as a modern-day oracle. Nolen notes that Paul the Octopus gained worldwide attention following his predictions in the 2010 World Cup. Safina adds that octopus has impressive vision and can even camouflage when faced with predators.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), octopuses are colloquially referred as intelligent aliens, illustrated by the knack for solving complex problems. Such a scene has been confirmed by the Phillip Low in the 2012 Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, which holds that cephalopods should be credited with the ability to discern the world and live and act deliberately. Such a scene is not celebrated by the hordes of customers making reservations at sea-food diners who devour these animals. PETA is renowned for organizing events and lobbying for the purposes of urging legislative members to prohibit the consumption or sale of live animals for eating purposes. Such scenes will change the context of America, helping the country go on to become one of the best countries supporting sea life and natural aesthetic beauty of these animals. It is better to house these animals in aquariums rather than mutilating them arm by the arm in the course of social activities. It is also important to note that PETA has also documented the dark truth behind this modern trend covering all the way from California in the West to New York in the East. The plight of cephalopods has not stopped chefs from slicing limbs from these hapless creatures all in the name of capitalism. The live food industry is growing even in the face of adverse media reactions to images of these dishes in expensive hotels. The animals would be better off in their natural environment rather than being eaten in their masses.
In conclusion, it is important to increase awareness about the depravity of live animal eating, especially in this day and age of information. It means the dissemination of positive information will go a long way in increasing condemnation against food outlets serving live animals. It is these conditions that will end the silent suffering of these animals as well as changing the cultural mindsets, where individuals have been programmed to accept events in the media as truth. Such conditions will encourage more individuals to complain and even take action against the live food industry. The survival of these animals is being threatened by the power of the dollar, risking the endangering of certain species and the cascading effects of its destruction of the normal food chain.
- Eriksen, Lars. “Live and Let Dine.” The Guardian, 10 Nov 2010,
- Killingsworth, Silvia. “Why Not Eat Octopus?” The New Yorker, 3 Oct 2014,
http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/eating-octopus. Accessed 1 June 2017.
- Low, Philip. “Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness.” The Cambridge Handbook of
- Nolen, Scott. “Scary Smart: Of All the Species Aquatic Veterinarians Treat, The Octopus Is
Among the Most Unique.” AVMA, 1 June 2017, https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/150715a.aspx
- PETA. “The Hidden Lives of Cephalopods.” PETA, n.d., https://www.peta.org/issues/the- %20hidden-lives-of-cephalopods/
- Safina, Carl. “Thinking in the Deep: Inside the Mind of an Octopus.” The New York Times 27 Dec 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/books/review/other-minds-peter-godfrey-smith.html?_r=0. Accessed 1 June 2017.