On June 12, in Hill v. McDonough, The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a death row inmate may challenge in court, via the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (42 USC 1983), the cruel and unusual nature of the method of execution he is about to be subjected to. In that case the method was lethal injection.
Last week (6/15), in a related case reported by the Associated Press (AP), the natural foods grocery chain Whole Foods Market ruled that they will stop selling live lobsters and soft-shelled crabs "on the grounds that it's inhumane." They will, however, "continue to sell frozen, raw and cooked lobster products." According to the AP, animal rights activists welcomed the decision.
Now admittedly the first case is from a law court and the second case is from a food court, but this may be a case of harmonic convergence to the same issue: While the right to kill either a man or a lobster is not disputed, the method of execution may now be challenged on cruelty grounds.
Actually, the human case is quite straightforward, but the matter of the lobster execution involves a more subtle analysis. Note that they will continue to sell previously, professionally murdered lobsters, but will not sell live lobsters to be murdered by their amateur customers.
The high justices at Whole Foods Market (I assume they wear aprons rather than the traditional legal robes whether they are rendering a verdict or rendering pork fat) may have a point. There are eight known ways to murder a lobster: chilling, drowning, spiking, chest spiking, splitting, tailing, freezing and boiling.
Professionals know that boiling live lobsters that are still at room temperature tends to make the meat too chewy. Of course freezing ruins both texture and appearance. Regretfully, most amateurs either murder their lobsters by boiling or buy them pre-murdered in a frozen state.
The preferred method by professional lobster hit men and cooks is to chill the live lobster almost to death and then either boil or grill the victim. Being coldblooded, the lobster responds well to surrounding temperature, and is lulled by the chilling to a calm mental state prior to the death plunge. And, being coldblooded metaphorically, the professional cook does not blanch or go weak at the knees while performing the execution.
Of course these cooking tips don't quite go to the humanitarian concerns for the lobster expressed by the high justices of Whole Foods Markets. But then, neither does science support such humanitarian concerns.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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