I get in trouble every time this subject comes up. So it’s a two element piece here, we’re going to tell you the story and then we’ll go back 11 years to my television show to a cooking segment featuring a lobster. We actually played videotape of a cooking segment that took place on the Today Show with the perky one, Katie Couric. But nevertheless, how many of you have witnessed a live lobster being sliced up before being put in the skillet and go, “Ooh! Ooh! How…? Ooh! Ooh! Why don’t we…? That’s not humane,” and so forth, and how many times have you heard people say, “Well, you know, they’re really invertebrates. They don’t feel any pain. They’re just idiots, and they prowl around there.” They’re here for two reasons: They eat food so they grow big so we can catch ’em and eat ’em. A gift of God, if you will, a lobster. Can you imagine? I’ve always thought — this kind of stuff intrigues me. I like to go back in time, I’d love to be there when the first human being caught the first lobster and said, “What the hell is this?” and then thought to eat it. Do you realize the first person who ate a lobster or very soon after, had to die, because if you don’t cook a lobster first, you can’t — that’s why lobsters are frozen. There’s no such thing as a fresh lobster other than a live lobster in the tank. You go in a restaurant, they pull it out of there, bam! throw it in the boiling water, because there’s some sort of poison in the lobster’s body, and it’s a defense mechanism. But of course since we’re 30-zillion-times smarter than a lobster it only took one or two humans dying before we figured this out.
Meanwhile, how many lobsters have died? Ha-ha. Now, if lobsters had an ability to fish or shoot guns they’d aim ’em at us, but they don’t so they’re basically sitting ducks out there. There’s new news out here on this. It’s not news. It’s a new study but just confirms what’s always been known. (story) “A new study out of Norway concludes it’s unlikely lobsters feel pain. This stirs up a long-simmering debate over whether Maine’s most valuable seafood suffers when it’s being cooked. Animal activists for years have claimed that lobsters are in agony when being cooked and that dropping one in a pot of boiling water is tantamount to torture. The study funded by the Norwegian government written by a scientist at the University of Oslo suggests that lobsters and other invertebrates such as crabs, snails, and worms probably don’t suffer even if lobsters do tend to thrash around in boiling water. The 39-page report says lobsters and crabs have some capacity of learning but it’s unlikely that they can feel pain.” They have capacity for learning? Really? I’ve never seen one jump out of a pot yet. It’s gotta figure what’s going on when it gets thrown in there. Nevertheless…
“Lobster biologists in Maine have maintained for years that the lobster’s primitive nervous system and underdeveloped brain which is–” probably no larger than that of your average fly, folks. No bigger than your average insect. In fact it says that: “–similar to that of an insect.” A-ha! “While lobsters react to different stimuli such as boiling water, the reactions are escape mechanisms, not a conscious response or an indication of pain. ‘It’s a semantic thing: No brain no pain,’ said Mike Loughlin who studied the matter when he was a University of Maine graduate student and is now a biologist at the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission.” He’s probably studying whether or not salmon feel pain. Now, I want to take you back just to show you this is a timeless story. We’ll go back to May 18th, 1994, on Rush Limbaugh, the TV show, and on that day they had a little segment on the Today Show, on cooking a lobster. Had a chef at a restaurant in Boston, the restaurant is called The Daily Catch owned by Marie Fedura, the chef Geraldo Andrade, and here is the chef demonstrating how to prepare lobster, and I thought that you’d like this. You can’t see this, but use the theater of your mind to imagine this as you hear it go by. You were able, if you watched this to see how lobster is prepared if you’ve never seen it because it’s done in the kitchen back there. And you’re sitting at your table having your adult beverage, getting ready for your feed. Let’s face it: What is lobster anyway? It’s an excuse to eat butter just like popcorn is for a lot of people. Just an excuse to eat butter. So here we go. This is how it sounded. Use your imagination, the theater of the mind to picture this as you hear it.
GERALDO ANDRADE (Chef): Take the lobster.
KATIE COURIC: Ow.
RUSH: (Voiceover) It’s alive by the way.
ANDRADE: Take one claw off. Take the second one.
COURIC: Oh. Sorry. I don’t know–I know that’s ridiculous but I–I feel bad for him.
ANDRADE: Then you cut the lobster right in half.
COURIC: Yeah. Oh. Jeez.
MARIE FREDDURA (Owner, The Daily Catch): This is fit for a king. This lobster never had it so good.
COURIC: Oh what way to go.
ANDRADE: Like this, you take the head off.
COURIC: OK. Now it’s done. He’s history.
ANDRADE: So you just put it right in the pan.
RUSH: (Voiceover) Now watch this.
COURIC: It’s still moving.
FREDURA: It’s all the natural juices are savored after it simmers.
COURIC: Oh, I see.
ANDRADE: Just like this.
FREDURA: You can’t quite get the same flavor out of a can.
COURIC: Can’t you give him sleeping pills or something before you cut him up?
ANDRADE: I’m sorry. This does happen.
COURIC: Yeah. And he’s still moving.
COURIC: I’m sorry. OK.
RUSH: (Voiceover) It’s OK, Katie. In just a minute they’re going to drown the poor little thing.
RUSH: (Voiceover) Here we go.
ANDRADE: So we get a nicer smell. I wish you guys could get the smell at home but it’s impossible.
ANDRADE: You know?
COURIC: I know. We don’t have smellavision.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Looks just absolutely delicious to me.
RUSH ARCHIVE: Now, of course, everybody knows that lobsters are brainless and it doesn’t matter. But that hasn’t stopped People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, we understand, from a USA Today story, that they say they plan to sue the restaurant owners for cruelty.
RUSH: This led to another story, some restaurant out in the left coast had this giant old lobster named Larry, and Mary Tyler Moore entered a bid to buy Larry in an attempt to save it, and so I got in a bidding war with her to buy the lobster to eat it, and, of course, the restaurant owner decided to pull the lobster. I don’t think it ever was for sale, but it was just funny. Now, you heard Katie there, because the lobster is being sliced up, and she said, “It’s still moving, it’s still moving, ooh!” Now, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t really have experience with lobsters. I’m like everybody else, I don’t cook them, I just don’t eat them very much, either, but down here in paradise, in south Florida, we have little gecko lizards that run around out there, and sometimes my little cat Punkin — and, hey, my cat is as nice is anybody else’s cat but when it sees a lizard darting around, bam, instinct kicks in. Now, Punkin does not kill the lizard, she toys with them, but one time I saw Punkin — you know, these cats are fast — stepped on the lizard’s tail, and the lizard escaped because they have escapable tails. You’ve seen that. Well, I noticed the stale squiging around out there but it wasn’t attached to anything. I said, how could that be, there’s no brain in that tail, how’s it still moving around? It’s just muscle whatever going on in there reactions, but there’s no way that tail could feel pain because there’s no pain mechanism in the tail, it’s no longer connected. And that’s my point the same thing about lobster. You’re slicing it up and it’s still moving, it’s just reactions. It’s not based on the fact, “Ooh, that claw! It’s still alive! Oh, no! Ooh.” There’s just some things I guess better not seen out there. But the debate now continues to rage, and since I talked about this earlier in the program, I wanted to share the details with you.
RUSH: Rick in Kennebunkport, Maine, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush.
CALLER: Hey. Claw crushing dittos from Kennebunkport.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: It’s a pleasure to talk to you. I’ve been listening since 8-8-88.
RUSH: That’s pretty near the beginning.
CALLER: My daughter’s 16, been listening all her life.
RUSH: I appreciate that, thank you so much.
CALLER: Thank you. Hey, I was telling your people that we can hypnotize lobsters up here. We do it every once in a while, it’s kind of a novelty thing to do. We don’t really bother doing it every time we make lobsters, but you can knock ’em out prior to dropping them in the water if you like.
RUSH: Yeah. Hiptizing them is knocking them out?
CALLER: Well, you kind of stand them on their head, Rush, and you gently curl their tails up under them, gently and then you just sort of stroke their head and their tails, and they go to sleep they’ll actually stand right up on their head, on their horn —
RUSH: Wait a second, that’s going to blow this Norwegian study all to hell because if a lobster can effectively be massaged into hypnosis and sleep, it certainly ought to be able to feel pain.
CALLER: It can be knocked out. We call it hypnotizing them, but I don’t think it really hypnotizes them. It just I think cuts the circulation off and they go to sleep.
RUSH: It’s probably the business of standing them on their head. They don’t have a big head, anyway, there’s not a whole lot of blood in there, you stand them on their head, the blood is not going anywhere, they probably pass out, is what happens here.
CALLER: Well, I think you’re right, and it’s been good for me; I’ve gotten a lot of free lobster dinners out of people showing them how to do this.
RUSH: (Laughing.) You recommend trying this at home?
CALLER: Sure I do. You’re not really hurting the lobster.
RUSH: Oh, of course not, you’re just standing the poor sucker on its head.
CALLER: Well the worst thing that could happen, ask Katie, they taste just as good, they don’t really fight and you just drop them in head first and it’s all over with.
RUSH: Okay, so then you drop them in head first after you’ve already stood them on their head?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: And they don’t squirm around in there?
CALLER: No and they don’t flop around. Lobsters can really cut your fingers up if you’re not handling them right.
RUSH: Yeah, well, they’ve got claws.
CALLER: No, not so much the claws. Those little sharp fins on the sides of their tails are just like scissors when they’re flapping at tail back and forth.
RUSH: What does a lobster eat?
CALLER: A lobster eats everything, including each other.
RUSH: See, I told you. The cockroaches of the sea.
CALLER: Yeah, they’re worse than that because they’re cannibalists. They’re cannibalists. They’ll eat each other if the lobster pot doesn’t get bait in it or there’s nothing else swimming through there for them to eat they’ll eat each other. That’s why lobstermen need to get out a couple times a week to check those lobster pots so they don’t lose the catch they’ve got in there.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate the update.
CALLER: Sure. Hey, you know —
RUSH: What’s that?
CALLER: When they ship that big lobster up here, PETA did — they’ve done it a couple times — they bring them to Kennebunkport to drop them off. Why, I don’t know, but we think we always catch them like the next day or so because they’re extra stupid from being in those tanks where there’s not a lot of oxygen.
RUSH: They’re extra stupid.
CALLER: So we thank them for sending them up hire. We don’t really need them but we’ll take them.
RUSH: All right. (Laughing.) Thanks, Rick. They’re extra stupid. He’s making these things sound pretty intelligent, if you can make them extra stupid, that means they’re not too stupid to begin with, and then if you can stand the thing on its head and hypnotize, it’s got to have some kind of a brain if you can hypnotize the brain which I really don’t think… I think they’re knocking it out. I think he’s whacking it down there and saying it’s being stood on its head and the thing curls up naturally as a result of being knocked out. I think that’s probably a more accurate description of what he meant, knocked out, bam, whack the thing on the side of that cutting board and then tell unsuspecting people that are not lobster experts you’ve just hypnotized the thing.
RUSH: Let me go to Danielle in Cut Off, Louisiana. Danielle, welcome to the program. Nice to have you with us.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, it’s good to talk to you today.
RUSH: Thank you. Where is Cut Off, Louisiana?
CALLER: I knew you were going to ask me that. You drive about 45 minutes south and you’ll be in the Gulf of Mexico.
RUSH: Okay, that tells me a lot. A general geographic idea, can <a target=new href=”http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?country=US&address=&city=Cut+Off&state=LA”>find it on Map Quest</a>.
CALLER: Yeah, it’s just north of Grand Isle.
RUSH: Okay, good.
CALLER: Okay, I was just calling to back up your idea about the hypnotism of the lobster.
CALLER: Perhaps you’re familiar with in Florida we have, we call them crawfish, some people call them mud bugs, like a small version of the lobster.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah.
CALLER: We boil those on a regular basis over here and we had to use them in biology class to do dissecting on them and the way their circulatory system works it it’s just like a shower, at the top it pumps up to the top some kind of way and it just like drips so when you turn it over the blood’s not circuiting or it’s not really blood, but whatever their liquid is, and so they just pass out. Nothing to do with being hypnotized —
CALLER: — and you might have heard they do the same thing with alligators.
CALLER: They flip them over and their brain hits the back of the skull and they pass out.
RUSH: Yeah, well, I haven’t seen that done, but I’ll trust you. You live where they are.
RUSH: But you see, ladies and gentlemen, this just shows I think once again my qualifications to be here. We had a guy call from Kennebunkport saying he hypnotized lobsters. I a natural skeptic said, “Probably just standing it on its head doesn’t have a big enough brain, the blood doesn’t circulate, probably just passes out.” Here we have an expert on lobsters from Cut Off, Louisiana, confirming me. It’s amazing.