The Tale of 6 Dead Insects
Or, The Case of The Undead Snail
One day (this most recent Wednesday), a girl named Carolyn (me) was working her volunteer shift at the raw organic vegan gluten-free take-out place, washing vegetables. While taking apart the lettuce and the kale to be washed, she found 6 dead insects in the vegetables. By the time her shift was over, she had uncovered 1 dead little winged black bug, 1 bronze-coloured winged insect, 1 wingless green one, 1 wingless black one, and 2 snails (well, snails aren't really insects, but the title of this story is meant to be decieving anyway).
At first, she had dumped the bronze one outside, and then the first snail. She figured that they were both dead.
Upon finding more insects and the second "dead" snail, she stopped bothering taking individual trips outside for each find. Instead, she just left them on the counter. She continued to wash the produce, spin them in a spinner, and then dump them in the right bins.
Then she noticed something strange.
The second snail had moved ever so slightly up the counter from where she had last seen it.
Ew, she thought, I must have bumped it with the lettuce. Gross. It's dead, though. It couldn't have survived for so long in the freezer, where the lettuce had been. And besides, it just looks dead.
She forgot about it for a while, washing more lettuce. Until she looked again, that is.
It had moved again. Had she bumped it again with the lettuce, or was it still alive?
The snail wasn't dead. But Carolyn refused to accept that it was alive. That left only one possibility... It was undead!
Sometimes we think that a creature is dead, when really, it isn't dead at all. This can definitely lead to problems. I might have thrown that snail in the compost bin or out on the pavement if I had not noticed soon enough that it was alive-- er, sorry, I mean, undead.
Insects are not the only creatures who we think are dead when they really aren't. What about pet fish? People often flush their sick fish down the toilet because they can not help them recover. But please, have compassion. Imagine getting sick with the flu and suddenly someone comes in and flushes you down the toilet! It will not kill the fish right away, but will slowly suffocate them in feces.
And then there is the lobster scenario. When people cook lobsters, they boil them alive. People re-assure themselves that lobsters can not feel or think, so they are perfectly okay with it, or at least, they try to be okay with it. Why, then, do lobsters desperately struggle to escape while being boiled?
Of course, you can't always save every little insect (or snail), but it is important to help when you can. Here are some ways to help:
- Don't assume an insect is dead if you find one unmoving; take it outside and let it recover. At worst, it will be eaten by a bird, and at best, it will recover and fly away. Either way, someone wins.
- Be the goldfish saviour. Every time someone you know has an ill goldfish, make sure that they do not flush it down the toilet.
- Don't eat lobster, obviously.
- Sign my petition against lobster-boiling. See the gadget to the side of my blog for details. It will be there for most of 2012.
- Let people know about how lobsters do, indeed, have sensitivity and feelings. You might need to quote some researchers to convince them of this.