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A gloved hand pulls a lobster from a tank. WoodysPhotos

By Sam Schipani

Last year was not a good one for the North Atlantic right whale. Seventeen of them were discovered to have died, about 4 percent of a total population of 455. Numbers have been low for decades—the species was declared endangered in 1973—but if the current trend continues, the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, could go extinct by 2040.

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Karissa Lindstrand

By Joe McCarthy

It's safe to say that lobsters aren't a budding new demographic for soda companies.

So why did a lobster recently caught in the waters off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, have part of a Pepsi logo tattooed on its claw?

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By Ashley Palmer

Hot on the heels of the Maine State Aquarium's acquisition of a 110-year-old lobster named Larry, who was rescued from a restaurant in Florida, PETA sent a letter to the aquarium calling for the old-timer to be released back into the ocean that he had called home for more than a century.

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It wouldn't be the first time that the aquarium made such a decision. It previously returned a 27-pound lobster, Rocky, to the sea in 2012.

Lobsters, like dolphins and many other animals, use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships. They also take long-distance seasonal journeys, traversing 100 miles or more each year. Scientists have determined that lobsters, like all animals, can feel pain and when kept in tanks, they suffer from the stress associated with confinement.

By Alicia Graef

Hundreds of lobsters avoided being boiled alive thanks to a group of Buddhist monks from Prince Edward Island.

The monks, who are from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, bought the lobsters—600 pounds worth of them—solely with the intention of returning them to their rightful home in the ocean.

Venerable Dan, a spokesman for the monks who were involved in the mission, told the CBC that the purpose of the effort was to cultivate compassion for all living beings. Before taking them back out to sea, the monks held a ceremony where they prayed and chanted to the Buddha of compassion.

Before the release, they also blessed the lobsters with purified water and later gently removed the bands that bound their claws.

According to the CBC, local fishermen helped them find a location where the lobsters would be safe from being caught again.

"We respect everyone's dietary choice, so we're not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans," Venerable Dan said. "This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. It doesn't have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don't run over little critters on the street."

The effort was an incredibly thoughtful approach towards raising awareness about about other beings and how precious their lives are to them, while showing just how easy it is to be compassionate.

They might not have made a direct call for change, but their actions made it virtually impossible not to reconsider how our behavior is affecting individual animals and entire other species, who continue to be used for food, clothing and entertainment … especially for species like lobsters who aren't all cute and fluffy.

Sadly for lobsters and other crustaceans, they're granted virtually no protection from the harm we regularly inflict on them, despite what we've known for a while now about their ability to feel pain and remember it.

"If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do?" Venerable Dan said. "To give them a helping hand and put them back to where they feel comfortable and we believe if everybody's able to do that, it will become a better place, a more harmonic place."

Hopefully this rescue effort will inspire more people to show kindness and to give other beings we don't fully understand the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their ability to enjoy their lives and experience pain and suffering.

For more fascinating facts about marine life, reasons to leave them off our plates and vegan seafood recipes, check out Fish Feel.

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