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In his article, ‘Consider the lobster’, David Wallace examines the human perception of this sea creature by looking at what takes place behind the scenes in United States’ Maine Lobster Festival. True, lobsters have health benefits. True, this festival is a source of tourism and, therefore, of great economic significance. However, a critical look at the number lobsters which are consumed during this festive season, and the fact that these sea creatures have to be boiled alive when converting them to food, provokes a fundamental moral argument—how the human being should deal with different forms of life (Wallace, p 3). This, in addition to an evaluation of bull fighting in Spain, will be used in this paper to argue against the unfeeling and sometimes cruel nature of the human race when dealing with some of the natural creations.
From a time when lobsters could not be allowed to be eaten by prisoners more than twice a week, the abundance of these creatures coupled with the realization that they are rich in protein and their cheap price has made them prevalent in the food industry. Lately, posh and delicate meals of lobsters have been noted to be more substantial than most fish. Lobsters, in addition, have fewer calories, cholesterol and fats as compared to the other source of white meat—the chicken. In the contemporary society where individuals, particularly the rich are cautious of their health, these attributes of lobsters have made them harvested and consumed in extremely large quantities. However, from the perspective of Maine Lobster Festival, this cannot be a justification. The picture painted by Wallace in his article about picking live lobsters for supper in supermarkets, watching vessels at States’ Maine Lobster Festival unload ‘fresh products which are directly transferred to the Festival’s cooker, undermine the inherent human attribute of sympathy. The argument is that in addressing living creatures, a human being should portray reason other than greed (3).
The fact that in Maine Lobster Festival, where lobster is the defining menu takes place in summer raises some fundamental philosophical questions from a scientific point of view. Ideally, lobsters are hungriest and most active in summer waters because during winter and other cold seasons, they retreat into deep waters where they are thought to go and hibernate. It is during the summer that lobsters as well undergo the hormonal molting process—growing another skeleton to accommodate their expanding body. This process is known to make them immobile for quite some time. In this light, massive harvesting of these sea creatures either coincidentally or intentionally, takes advantage of two aspects of the lifestyle of these creatures which from a critical point of view are ill-motivated, opportunistic and inhuman in total. One, this harvesting takes place when the creatures have just gained some mobility from hibernation in cold, deep-sea water. As indicated, creatures innocently come out in summer for food. Additionally, taking advantage of their mobility during molting to harvest them in large quantities is too opportunistic of the human race on such a small innocent and senseless creature (Wallace, p 3).
A look at the bull fighting landscape in Spain paints the society associated with it as cruel, irresponsible and selfish. To illustrate the undue injustice subjected to these animals, a particular bull fight is planned before conception takes place. The process begins with identifying a mother cow which demonstrates resolve in defending herself against painful punishment. This cow is bred with an equally aggressive bull. The bullfight therefore is built on the platform of aggression and forced female breeding. When the bullfight takes place four years later, the defeated bull is killed through a painful torture process which clearly is a breach of its dignity as an animal. In this regard, matador—the principal bullfighter—kills the bull after an exhausting battle by piecing its most sensitive organs like the neck, and stomach among others. Not to mention that some foreign chemicals night be infused in the bull to force it to fight whenever it exhibits reluctance, this handling of the cow by this community, whether practiced under the pretext of culture or religion is bad (Stop Bullfighting, para 5).
Maine Lobster Festival in the United States and bullfighting in Spain are two examples of cultural practices practiced by people around the globe without questioning their moral implications. In case of the former for example, the 2003 festival was the 56th one and its theme—lighthouses, laughter and lobsters—is clearly motivated by a craving for pleasure and extravagance. To underline the ignorance about the implications of this festival, CNN described it as among the best food-themed festivals in the world. This statement by a globally acknowledged media house underlines the unquestioning nature of those people who attend this festivity (Wallace, p 1). In the Spain scenario, both the government and the church continue to uphold bullfighting as a traditional way of entertainment. Support from such institutions which are major stakeholders in any society is offensive to these animals and the general Spanish population that have much to be proud in their lives than subjecting animals to unnecessary punishment. True, bad science and religion have historically taken every opportunity to magnificently display their hypocrisy (Stop Bullfighting, para 8).
The cultures of a lobster festival in the United States and bullfighting in Spain have one thing in common—they abuse living cultures. That said, their motivating factors are completely different. In the United States, Maine Lobster Festival is not an ordinary festival but one exclusively for the rich. This is evidenced by CNN coverage of the event, concerts by world-famous musicians Lee Ann Womack and Orleans and Maine Sea Goddess beauty pageant among other aspects of a festivity coined for those living in the first lane. Bullfighting in Spain, on the other hand, is coined on the platform of tradition. In their argument, the Spanish society claims that they rest with the exclusive right to use their animals in whatever manner because God placed the human under every creation. According to the Spanish traditions in particular, the defeated bull represents the feminine character. The notion of a matador piercing this bull to death is appreciated in the Spanish traditions as man dominion of the man. In a nutshell, this is a society that has sought to oppress both the woman and the animal.
In seeking for a scientific redress to these occurrences, one can perceive the first scenario in two perspectives. One argument of attending the lobster festival is to share in their nutritional value. Surely, science can be employed to provide other sources with matching nutrients. Two, because the vegetarian argument by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals is heard to win, this festival should embrace science to come up with a way of converting these sea creatures into food a more humane manner—without inflicting them too much pain. However, consuming them in too-large quantities is an ethical issue which can only be addressed through policy formulation by relevant stakeholders. One can look at bullfighting scientifically as well—the church and the people’s perception, in particular, that the human is above all creations—has been turned into killing (Stop Bullfighting, para 7). While it might be true that the human is above most creations, the perception that an animal can be tortured because of God is ill-conceived. Apparently, the human is the dominant natural creation. Still, this should not be a platform to justify the suppression of the other creations. In addressing the rest of creation, the human being should exercise moderation.