Sunday, September 12, 2010

in which we are crabby

While at the supermarket today, B and R decided we must rescue the crabs. Now I've always felt terrible for those poor creatures, because their claws are all bound up so tight against their bodies, and they're just dumped all over each other in some huge tub. Crabs are usually killed by being frozen, stabbed or steamed alive. Just thinking of that, and seeing them suffering in the stores, is enough to make me not want to eat them at all; I imagine more people would stop eating meat if they actually saw the cow or pig or lamb they were eating while it was still alive, and then being killed. I don't think many people stop to think of their steak once being a sentient, intelligent, even affectionate, cow whose life was a misery from tiny pen to slaughterhouse.

Unfortunately, I did not think I could afford the entire tub of crabs (well I'd never bought crabs before and only had some hazy notion that in the restaurants they're expensive). So we picked the two that had "spoken" to B (especially the one who could not right himself up). It was something of an exertion for me to pick the two crabs up, put them in the bags, pay for them with my other groceries, and get them home -- I was just so petrified of somehow hurting them.

And then, after I got them home, I realised I didn't know much about them at all. For example, I learnt that these particular crabs are cannibalistic in nature, and so hurried back down to separate them (I had cut off all their bindings). Seeing them stretch their legs after being freed made the girls and I very happy. We decided we'd wait till it was evening before releasing them in the river, having come to some vague conclusion that we'd have to do it surreptitiously because there are always crazed crab-hungry people hanging around.

And that's what we did. When it got dark, we brought them to the river -- in a pram no less -- and released them. B insisted we pray for them, which we did. Now of course there's every chance of them being caught again within ten minutes by those crazed people, but we like to think there's also as much chance of them having a real chance at a proper happy crab life. Well, I'm glad anyway to have perhaps given them at least a moment of joy, and also -- perhaps more importantly -- to have encouraged the mercy and compassion my kids have for their fellow creatures.

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