Regular readers of this blog will know I’ve not a Greenie. I don’t support Earth Hour and other gratuitous shows of saving the environment when the process, in my view, is a lot more damaging, as I’ve stated here and here.
So I was naturally miffed when someone I know sent me a chain-email about boycotting sharksfin for wedding banquets, with some grotesque pictures of something that was claimed to be a shark being caught and dismembered.
What got me even more riled was that this same someone then proceeded to send me another two copies of the chain-email, so much so that I had to respond to him.
This is what I wrote: “While it’s true sharksfins come via a cruel way, I think it’s no more cruel than flinging live lobsters, prawns, crabs etc into boiling water or oil. Have you ever thought what trussed up lobsters and crabs feel — to be boiled alive and yet can’t even flail their claws to protest against the pain (not that it would be any use of course!)
“Haven’t u heard that line from Shakespeare that ‘the poor beetle that we tread upon, in corporal sufferance finds a pang as great as when a giant dies’?
How many sharks die each year to give restaurants the necessary sharksfin as compared to the millions of chickens, pigs, cows, ducks, geese, lambs and goats that are put to death for our table? And the possibly billions of prawns and seafood of all description that die too to feed us?
Are they really “humanely” despatched off?
When none of us humans have ever had our throats slit, our carcasses flung into hot water and cold and then have our guts ripped out to prepare us for the supermarket shelves, I think it’s rich of any of us to make such “humane” claims.
The fact is whatever meat and seafood we eat has caused an animal to die an unnatural death. Just that most of us don’t want to think about it. And kicking off campaigns against eating sharksfin is as hypocritical as announcing Earth Hour events in airconditioned comfort, unless the anti-sharksfin campaigners are 100% vegetarians too!
This is because the best way to avoid causing pain to sentient creatures in order to feed our bodies is to be a vegetarian.
But then, there are experts now saying that vegetables, plants and trees can feel pain too and scream and shout when we rip them from the earth and harvest their leaves and/or fruits for food. The only solace to our guilt is that our ears aren’t sharp enough to hear their dying groans.
So, where does this leave us?
For myself, I eat meat and fish sparingly. In any case, I don’t eat lamb, mutton, duck and beef and several kinds of seafood like squid and prawns.
When I’m the host at a meal in a restaurant, I never order live seafood — though whether that’s really any good for the fishes and prawns swimming in an over-crowded tank is anybody’s guess!!
If it’s beyond my control over what food to order, and there’s meat and fish aplenty, with live prawns drowning in alcohol being a favourite choice, then I make sure I eat up every scrap that’s put on my plate, so that no creature dies in vain, where my stomach is concerned.
If all of us eat more vegetables and less meat and fish, I think we will do a lot more to reduce the suffering of all animals than by just boycotting sharksfin!