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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Giant Squid - check it out

Hurrah! We have done it again! Gone deep into the ocean, tortured an animal in its own habitat, and come out triumphant with photographs. Normally we do it to things we are familiar with - you know, things that are good to eat or pretty to look at - but now we've managed the feat with something we hardly believed existed. Congratulations Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori. You have managed to make a giant squid cut off its own arms so that we could see hazy pictures of an animal that few people had imagined, and fewer still are concerned about.

"I think it's wonderful that we've finally got a picture of a living giant squid," said Richard Ellis, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History [as reported by National Geographic]. Oh yes, wonderful indeed. What a moving performance to see a living thing impaled on the hook. How thrilling to see it struggling to break free. And what a marvellous ending to see leave behind two of its tentacles - bleeding, cut off, and oh so helpful for our scientific deductions.

The find has already put light on the big question that has puzzled scientists for years, which is: are these creatures active or lazy? Yes, this is the big discovery that we have come up with - read this news report. As you will find out: "The efforts the squid went to untangle itself [from the baited fishing line] also shows they are capable of quite strong and rapid movement." Ah the enlightenment.

Now I have no quarrel with science, nor do I have a problem with the money spent on it. But I DO mind if we go about things in an avoidably inhuman way. You got to click snaps - feel free. But is it so necessary to send down a bait with hooks for that purpose? Especially when you DO have specimens of the dead variery that were washed up ashore? You want to eat meat - sure - but is it necessary to torture and kill whatever it is that you want to eat? And if pharma companies must test medicines on rats - all right - but for goodness sake can't they follow guidelines and use anasthesia?

Science is not a good enough reason to torture. Nothing is.

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