Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


The SPCA is boiling crabs alive again

From Animal People: The poster for an August 27, 2006 crab feast planned by the Prince Rupert SPCA looked like a bizarre parody. A grinning cartoon crab, pink as if already burned, sprawled beneath a beach umbrella. "Live crab, cooked to eat at the park or cooked to take home," the poster advertised. A photo of a real crab affirmed that real animals were really to be boiled--until on August 17 the parent British Columbia SPCA cancelled the event under pressure personally directed by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson.

Though the crab feast was averted, the episode raised issues of posture and strategy which should be of pre-eminent concern to every humane organization.

"Our mission," the Prince Rupert SPCA web site predictably proclaims, is "the prevention of cruelty to animals, and promotion of animal welfare."

Boiling animals to death, as the Prince Rupert SPCA learned, is perceived as cruel not only by long-established consensus of the humane community, but also by much of the public. Promoting animal welfare, by any reasonable definition, includes avoiding acts which may be construed as either endorsing or participating in cruelty, such as boiling crabs to raise funds.

From Animal Advocates Society: "Crabs used for food are subject to killing methods that would warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges if the victims were cats, dogs, cows, or pigs. Like lobsters, crabs are often thrown into pots of scalding-hot water and boiled alive-the crabs will fight so hard against a clearly painful death that their claws often break off in their struggle to escape. Some crabs used for food are electrocuted, some are chopped up, and others are microwaved-all while they are still conscious. Whole Foods management decided to immediately stop selling live lobsters and soft-shell crabs, saying they could not ensure the creatures are treated with respect and compassion."

But not the BC SPCA. They insisted that crabs feel no pain, until Sea Shepherd Society's Paul Watson got on board. The media and an online petition followed and the SPCA finally backed down.

SPCA's 'crab boil' questioned by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

August 17, 2006 Vancouver Sun

PRINCE RUPERT - The Prince Rupert SPCA has found itself in hot water over a proposed fund-raising event that would involve boiling live crabs.

A group of SPCA volunteers has organized a crab cookoff on Aug. 27 in Prince Rupert's Mariners' Park. For $10, visitors may eat their crab at the park or have it cooked to take home. The crabs are being donated by the Crabbers Association of Prince Rupert.

But the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is asking animal lovers around the world to sign a petition protesting the event, saying it's wrong for an animal-welfare organization to kill one kind of animal to help another. "How incredibly bizarre," society founder Paul Watson said in an e-mail to The Vancouver Sun. "Here we have an organization supposedly dedicated to preventing cruelty actually inflicting cruelty to an animal to raise money to supposedly prevent cruelty to animals."

The petition, which is being circulated by e-mail, reads: "The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [Prince Rupert Branch] is planning a feast of live crab cooked to eat or take home. "This crab boil is being held to raise money for the prevention of cruelty to animals. How ironic is that?

"We the undersigned are protesting this event and demand that [B.C. SPCA communications manager] Ms. Lorie Chortyk immediately cancel the proposed Crab Boil or resign from her position at the SPCA." Chortyk said it is up to the branch to cancel or continue with the event.

Nina Biskup, the animal-care attendant at the Prince Rupert shelter, said she understands Watson's concerns, and that if it were up to her, the event would be cancelled. "I don't eat crab," she said. "I know a lot of people are upset about it. If it's a concern, it's upsetting to me too because I don't want people to think we're hurting animals because we're definitely not."

Asked if the SPCA would consider cancelling it, Biskup replied: "If that's what it takes. I'm for cancelling it." Prince Rupert SPCA branch manager Helen Doucette was not available for comment.

Comment: This petition received numerous signatures and as reported in The Province on August 18/06, Ms. Chortyk received so many protest e-mails that her computer crashed. 

Some comments from the Canadian Voice for Animals petition: 

  • Profiting from animal cruelty should NEVER be an option! 
  • There is nothing more meaningless by any organization or group, when they contravene their own policies for the sake of money. 
  • How can anyone who cares about animals boil one alive?  What wickedness. The SPCA is unfit to act on behalf of animals. 
  • This is an outrage. The SPCA should be condemned. 
  • Has someone within your organization lost their mind? Are you even the least bit aware of the hypocrisy involved in murdering one species of animal to raise money to save others?  Please...either change your name from "The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" or change the menu! 
  • This is unthinkable for an animal cruelty prevention society...I am horrified at the proposed crab boil! 
  • I cannot believe the hypocrisy of this event. Surely another fundraising event could have been developed that does not include sacrificing any creatures. 

Boiling crabs is antithetical to SPCA's raison d'etre 

Vancouver Sun Published: August 18, 2006

Re: SPCA's 'crab boil' questioned by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Aug. 17 

While animal rights may not be everyone's cup of tea, and boiling crabs might not warrant the same type of attention as the abuse of a dog or cat, I find raising money by means of a crab cookoff more than a little hypocritical.  The SPCA purports to "speak for those who cannot speak for themselves." Does that mean only the cuddly kind that humans have as pets? 

For a group that has been plagued with bad press over past actions, the BC SPCA and Prince Rupert SPCA should know better. 

Shiloh Durkee, Surrey

Crab cruelty 

The Province Published: August 20, 2006

How could an agency like the Prince Rupert SPCA, supposedly concerned with animal cruelty and welfare, consider holding such a scandalous event as a crab boil?

Now that the public is outraged, the SPCA has decided to back down. But the damage has been done, and I'm left with a sick feeling that, if they could have got away with it, they would have.

The SPCA has once again given me reason to continue supporting such organizations as the Sea Shepherd Society and Animal Advocates, who truly fight to give a voice to the voiceless.

Carmina Gooch, North Vancouver

Comment:  All animal welfare/rights organizations should lead by example and have strict policies on cruelty-free fundraising.  To be so thoughtless in this day and age is totally outrageous.  There’s no justification for inflicting such torture while proclaiming to oppose cruelty.  It’s that simple.

October 15, 2014 Top chefs serving ethical feast for first-ever SPCA gala

Comment: A small group of activists were on hand to protest. One demonstrator took to Facebook, noting that the SPCA’s slogan of “speaking for animals” should be corrected to read Speaking for some animals while serving up the dead bodies of others at fundraising events.”

January 12, 2015 The Toronto Humane Society has partnered in a fundraiser with Whole Foods Market (Yorkville), despite pleas from animal activists and the rabbit advocacy community to reconsider. Five per cent of funds raised today will go towards updating medical facilities and providing animal care. This begs the question, why are some animals treated more equal than others? Don’t all lives matter, regardless of the arbitrary categories we give them?

The Toronto Humane Society's mission is "to promote the humane care and protection of all animals and to prevent cruelty and suffering." The BC SPCA claims to “speak for animals,” but it, too, serves animal products at its fundraisers. Whole Foods has recently introduced rabbit in its meat section in select US stores, claiming there is public demand. Would dog and cat, pets just like rabbits are, be offered if a small minority of consumers asked for it?

How can the slaughter of any animal, living, feeling creatures, be part of an economy? Once again, it’s all about profit, the economy and satisfying our palate. We’re a selfish, destructive, and violent species. A minority of people are speaking out and taking action on behalf of the oppressed, voiceless victims, and for this, we are thankful. Letters and petitions were signed over the last four days, bringing attention to the plight of rabbits. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by media.     

“As long as we remain, at core, a culture that sees animals merely as commodities and food, there is little help for our survival."  Dr. Will Tuttle

It’s a twisted world in which violence, bloodshed, and carnism is the norm and compassion and veganism is ridiculed as extremism. Gary L Francione

"All real progress in civilization depends upon man's ethical ideals.”  Dr. Albert Leffingwell

Read more: Whole Foods introduces 5-step animal welfare program; What's on your plate? Canada's ILOs; the high costs; rethinking our values; ditching Whole Foods; PETA alleges false claims

Rabbit touted as healthy cuisine; Ag Canada provides funding; production; AU investors lose; Prevention piece on rabbit meat distasteful; Ontario Rabbit Leaves Livestock Alliance Partnership (2014); Earthwise Society banquet offends, 2017

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