Saturday, May 07, 2005

Lobsters 1, PETA 0

In a bit of local news, the annual Lobster Races were held in downtown Aiken, SC last night. The event pits lobsters "trained" by various people in the area against other lobsters in a spoof of the Kentucky Derby. In the past 21 years it has raised well over $300,000 for local charities and has provided additional revenue for local business owners in the downtown area. The winner of the race is spared from becoming the main course. This year's event drew a crowd estimated to be around 10,000. As you might have imagined, PETA has sided with the lobsters.

Note the statement sent to the Aiken Downtown Development Association last month by Jennifer O'Connor, an animals in entertainment specialist with PETA:

"Given the irrefutable shift in public perceptions about the use of animals in entertainment, coupled with the substantial evidence of cognitive function in these complex crustaceans, we are asking that your board of directors give serious thought to eliminating the races from your festival."

From the Lobsters feel pain department, O'Conner continues:

"Being mishandled and treated roughly in the races surely causes the lobsters discomfort."

When Todd Stilp, Lobster Race co-founder attempted to contact O'Conner to find out why she thought the lobsters were being mistreated, his call was not returned. Figures.

Stilp describes the conditions faced by the crustaceans during the race:

"We have a salt solution to keep them alive, water to keep them cool and the track has salt-cooled water flowing through it," he said. "We have never injured a lobster."

Stilp also doubts whether PETA has ever been to the Lobster Races. Me too!

Personally, I would be willing to bet that the lobsters competing in the races have never seen conditions better than they saw last night. Kudos to the Aiken Downtown Development Association for beating back this lame attempt by PETA to disrupt a local tradition, and to the estimated crowd of 10,000 local citizens who apparently also disagree with PETA's assessment.

I wonder if PETA would ever come out in force to protect the rights and conditions of the unborn in this country as they do for crustaceans and other animals? I remain doubtful.

Note: The blockquotes and statistics in the above post were taken directly from the text of an article in The Aiken Standard, Thursday May 5, 2005 written by Karen Daily. The post is not intended to reflect the opinions of Karen Daily, as they are those of the post author alone.

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