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Not JUST Crabs and Lobsters

Updated on October 27, 2016

On Display

While on a personal visit to Canada I went to a large supermarket chain to pick up a few things. Over the last few years, after a personal awakening, I often feel frustrated in these kinds of environments. I look around me and I am bothered by the excesses but, on that day, something bothered me in particular. A scene many people see but don't think twice about. At the back of the supermarket there are two large water tanks, one with live crabs and the other with live lobsters. In both tanks the creatures are on display stacked one on top of the other, not able to move, their pincers tied; waiting...waiting...waiting.

Image courtesy of Stoonn/ image ID: 10095848

Rock crab
Rock crab

Beyond the Water Tank

Living in Greece close to the sea, I have the privilege of 'meeting' and seeing crabs in their natural environment. They are incredibly active and interesting to watch. Their sideways movements in and out of crevices in the rocks along the sea shore often grab my attention. Most of the time I see individual crabs but sometimes I notice a number of them living in close proximity to one another exhibiting the most interesting behaviours. Their pincers, the most noticeable part of their bodies, are used for communication, foraging for food and fighting for females. They interact with and are an important part of the ecosystem they live in cleaning the sea bottom as they feed on decomposing plant and animal matter. Anyone watching a crab notices that they are very aware of their surroundings; they will avoid dangerous situations scurrying to hide, yet will courageously defend them selves when they need to. I have seen them in action when one of my dogs will unexpectedly come across a crab during our beach walks. My dogs, mostly curious, are no match and will leave the crabs to themselves.

Back to the water tanks... there I stood, looking at the pathetic creatures in front of me reduced to a pitiful display. They are robbed of everything that a crab or lobster is meant to be, robbed of all that is natural to them, no stimulation what so ever, not being able to be who they are just sitting as things in water. They could very well be rocks piled one on top of the other rather than living beings with the desire that all living beings have. People walk by them all day long, barely noticing them, except when someone wants to buy one in order to eat him. I wondered how many of them die in that tank, tossed and then replaced to fill the display? "Well,".... someone might respond, "...they are just crabs after all, right?" Just crabs from our perspective but to them that is what THEY are with all that DOES mean to them like ALL that being human means to us. I walked away from the tank with a sunken feeling. As an animal rescuer and vegan I couldn't leave it at that.

Around me I am aware that times are changing and people are learning that the choices they make can bring about change and reduce cruelty. Recently animal experimentation in the production of cosmetics was banned in the E.U.; there are huge movements against fur apparel when once it was chic to wear; traditions such as bull and cock fighting and other tortuous animal festivals are being fought in the same countries that revere them. Change follows when people become aware and are put in a situation to re-think an attitude about something they had never considered before. Most people don't want to be involved in cruelty and are unaware that their choices are causing it. Sometimes, when the connection is missing, it just takes a light bulb of consciousness. Once that light bulb is turned on change occurs.

Returning to the crabs and lobsters I had stared at, I can not do anything physically to help them. However, the least I could do is write about them hoping that after reading this the next time you walk by such a tank you will see them as more than just a display but recognize them as creatures robbed of all that they are. To assume that their brains are small, that they don't understand what is happening to them is nothing short of human self-centeredness, misunderstanding the nature of other beings and their need to be who they are to express what they are meant to be.

"There's no scientific reason to treat sea animals differently because they're not as familiar to us as dogs and cats or pigs and cows," says Ashley Byrne, (See link below)

Image courtesy of Simon Howden.

Crustaceans....Reef life of the Andaman


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