Sunday 23 October 2016

The world's your lobster, unless you're a big movie star with a little pet problem

Yes? No? No? Yes?

There's been passionate debate all week, in print, online and on the airwaves. But I'm still not exactly sure where I stand on the lobster question.

Of course I'm a fan of TV character Larry the Lobster. Aren't we all? And ever since the B-52s had a big hit back in the day, I acknowledge the place the colourful crustacean occupies in pop culture.

Am I one for tucking into a lobster in a red wine or mustard sauce? No.

With their wibbly-wobbly whiskers (OK, I know they're not really whiskers but you know what I mean), their funky nippers and beady little eyes like Pete Doherty (remember him, of the Babyshambles), I sometimes think they'd make a nice pet.


But that wouldn't be fair. Lobsters should be free to roam the sea bed, chilling with jellyfish and the like.

Dogs make more suitable pets than lobsters. When in Korea, I didn't eat dog. The locals can't seem to get enough of plump, fluffy little lapdogs.

A bit like in Carlow, they have gigantic puppy farms, except that in Korea they're breeding tomorrow's menu. Unlike in Carlow, these are legal. Of course, in Carlow nobody really believes this sort of inhumane activity goes on. And, sure, isn't Ireland the illegal puppy farm capital of Europe where the cruel abuse of animals is toasted as a get-rich scheme?

Not every voice I heard complaining about the team that liberated the lobsters in Dublin would be happy to boil a puppy alive or even stab it through the back of the head as a quicker, possibly less traumatic means of dispatch before grilling.

If we were to treat a pet the way we treat a lobster we'd probably get jail. But perhaps this is becoming too theological.

So what about the lobsters? The brigade that sprang the arthropods (inset) on Wicklow Street highlighted the fact that, apart from on SpongeBob SquarePants, lobsters have been denied a voice.

As food industry power brokers and online commentators complained about Maine lobsters being dumped in Dublin Bay, they conveniently ignored the question of the air miles clocked up just to satisfy someone's craving for mousse, risotto or lobster thermidor.

Most people who enjoyed The Shawshank Redemption were probably rooting for the lobsters as they wobbled into Dublin's blue flag waters last weekend.

And surely the passionate young idealists who sprang them from their watery Death Row had something in common, not just an impossible dream, with a bunch of starry-eyed chaps who hijacked a post office and declared a Republic a century ago. As the man said, the world's your lobster.

Unlike Johnny Depp's dogs, I imagine it'd be impossible to microchip a lobster. In their favour, I doubt if a lobster requires a rabies vaccination. If Mike Tyson could have a Bengal tiger in his passenger seat and Michael Jackson a chimp, Bubbles, and an alligator, surely Johnny Depp could have a lobster?

But no doubt if the movie star had smuggled pet lobsters into Australia instead of his little Yorkies Boo Boo and Pistol, Barnaby Joyce, the Minister for Agriculture, would have had them on the barbie by now.

Mind you, Johnny might be wary of filming in Cork any time soon because authorities there are considering setting up a doggy DNA database to enable them to track down dog owners who leave piles of dog dooty, or s*** as we call it in Ireland, on the pavement.

In Dublin, as in the Rebel City, it would appear dog owners have an intolerance of pooper-scoopers or biodegradable flushable bags that would enable them to clean up after their pooches.

Can't Scoop Won't Scoop seems to be the message from the suburbs of dirty Dublin where children play at risk of harmful bacteria thanks to the mess left by dog lovers.

Maybe if we had Barnaby Joyce over here telling people to "bugger off" with their dogs or he'd "have to euthanise them" the problem would get sorted.

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