What PETA wants

Aug 03, 2017

Every year, protesters from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) create a scene at the Maine Lobster Festival, arguing it is cruel to boil lobsters alive and eat them.

The organization opposes all meat consumption and argues people should adopt a vegan lifestyle. So far, it has not taken up the cause of defending all of the plant life we shamelessly eat every year.

Last year two protesters staged a spectacle at the corner of Park and Main streets. One of them, a young woman from Chicago, wore little more than red body paint and pretended to be a lobster on a plate. The event drew a great deal of attention and was a popular story on our site.

On several levels, we could applaud the protesters. We in the newspaper business fight to protect people's right to free speech and seek to create opportunities for people to speak truth to power.

In addition, the mission of PETA is a needed one. Someone must advocate for animal rights and against unnecessary cruelty, be it to pets, farm animals or lab animals.

However, when one enters a negotiation, their request must be reasonable. So let's look at what would happen if we gave PETA what it wants and gave up eating lobster.

Maine would lose a critical industry and 6,000 licensed fishermen would be out of work, putting their families in jeopardy. It should be noted, Maine does not have so many industries that it can spare this one.

In 2016, lobstermen hauled in a record 130 million pounds of lobster at a value of $533 million, according to the Portland Press Herald. That's 75 percent of the state's total commercial fishing value. That does not include the $19 million from the Atlantic Herring industry, which provides bait for lobster traps, nor does it take into account the myriad other local businesspeople who make their living supporting the lobster industry -- those who sell and service boats, sell gear, buy lobster and serve the crustacean to tourists in restaurants.

It would devastate our local economy.

The lobster industry, and all of Maine's fisheries, are heavily regulated and the result of those regulations has been a thriving fishery. We do not take lobsters that are too small, or those that are carrying eggs. We protect this species.

So PETA is asking the impossible. That undermines this organization's overall mission and relegates it to nothing more than a sideshow put on by naive fanatics.

We would like to see PETA adjust its arguments to show that it also cares about the humans who live in Midcoast Maine.

Kudos for Potterfest

Rockland Public Library continues to show it is committed to serving the community beyond simply lending books.

This week, library staffer Katie Drago enthusiastically cheered on children as they participated in games on the library grounds to celebrate the birthday of popular children's book character Harry Potter and his creator, J.K. Rowling. Children from throughout the Midcoast attended the event, many costumed as their favorite characters.

This kind of event encourages those youngsters who have perhaps seen the movies to pick up the books and read them as well this summer. If nothing else, it gets them away from their electronics and into the sun for a while.

This is just one of the many free activities provided by the library, and these kinds of activities serve to level the playing field for children and families on tight budgets.

Keep up the good work!

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