Esprit Rock

Humans are based on ethics that

Humans are based on ethics that, over the course of their lives, they adapt to. The human mind can consider vast amounts of things, from objects and settings around them to people’s emotions. Consideration gives the ability to acknowledge something and make decisions from those acknowledgements. People can be considerate of a multitude of things: the environment, animals, other humans. However, it is very difficult for someone to be considerate when they are not aware of the circumstances at hand. And thus, there are many people who have found a purpose in educating others on the importance of such circumstances on various subjects. For example, deep consideration can be seen in David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster.” His essay forces readers to see his perspective and pushes the reader to strongly think of their own view. One of the most important qualities when being considerate is also being openminded, because it allows you to think from the perspective of someone or something else, enabling a deeper examination.
In Wallace’s essay, the moral argument based around how humans treat animals, specifically lobsters, gives the reader a very different perspective. Many people often argue eating animals is morally wrong for many reasons: animals can feel pain, they want to live, and like humans should have the right to live. These individuals are usually part of big groups, such as the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) organization. Wallace exemplifies this aspect in his essay “Consider the Lobster,” in which he places himself in the position a cooking lobster would usually be given. Wallace points out that beyond the animals’ intent of living, the way people cook lobster is harsh and arguably wrong. Once fished out from traps at the bottom of the sea, the lobsters are placed inside small tanks with their claws tied until they are ready to be cooked (Wallace 464). When the lobster is finally ready to be eaten, the lobster is then dropped into a boiling pot of water and cooked alive. Much controversy has sparked from this method, as dying from being boiled would be very much painful. That being said, it is currently unknown if a lobster can feel pain, but there seems to be a sense of dying, shown as “the lobster … behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water” (Wallace 466). Some people rationalize the horrid killing of lobsters by thinking they are nothing besides a “giant sea insect,” and wrongfully so (Wallace 460). Wallace strives to try and make people reconsider our ethical treatment of animals. Before people can be considerate of the way animals are treated, they need to be knowledgeable of maltreatment.
To many, however, there is not a conflict they should be worrying about in the first place. Wallace brings to light a controversy usually not regarded while eating a freshly cooked lobster. It is so much simpler to overlook the issue and reap its benefits to you. The European Union, however, has made much different claims. In 2010, the EU passed a Directive stating, “death as an end-point of a procedure should be avoided … and that humane end-points should be used to minimize … animal suffering” as it pertains to all animals, including cephalopods (Andrews 4). This pushes companies and people to use less harmful methods for their transportation and killing of animals, regardless of whether or not we assume they feel it. Paul Andrews, of the Division of Biomedical Sciences at St. Georges University, studied how to detect if the animal was suffering, and studied giving anesthesia to the animals in order to calm it down. This way, when a humane-endpoint was reached, and the only options left were to kill the animal humanely or reduce its suffering, the animal would not have to be wasted and could instead be sedated. Even so, animals will show senescence naturally, especially short-lied crustaceans, which will make it complicated to tell if the animal should be killed/sedated, or if it is simply having a normally stressed life event. This problem was suggested by Andrews to be solved by humanely killing the animal regardless, but for legal reasons many other people will need to be involved (including veterinarians, legal officials, and researchers) (Andrews 4). The European Union is attempting to further their understanding of animal suffering, and pushing for more humane treatment of lobster by law. That next step is not so accepted in the U.S.
How, or why, is that next step not accepted? Where does the open-minded thought close to exclude fish from animal rights given to, say, cows, pigs, and chickens? In the words of Maximilian Elder, of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, “compared to other animals farmed and used for consumption, fish are not of great concern to the public eye” (17). But why? Elder argues that due to the limited morphological expressions, such as any mammalian facial movements, and lack of vocals, fish and other underwater animals get left behind in the pursuit of animal rights (17). These traits eventually lead to very few humans interacting with them, and the few who interact with fish/crustaceans mostly see them as floating protein. This essentially pushes different underwater animals like theses out of or physical horizon of empathy, in which animals like dogs take their place, despite less widespread abuse. Within recent years alone have we begun to see activists, like Wallace, try and show masses of people a different perspective on the treatment of these fish. In some cases, the perspective was to only give a different look on a subject we are partaking in, by cooking fish, and that it raises humane questions that should be addressed. To others, however, a more close-minded approach is taken, one not as considerate or helpful to the masses of people, in which they think that these fish need to be protected and generally held from a food table. To even make these claims, when no one has clear evidence if pain receptors exist, is close minded in itself. However, to show that the treatment is not humane (according to how we should be treating other animals), and that we could harvest and kill them in a less stressful way, is a much more considerate and helpful approach to this controversy.
When people view things with only one, simple perspective from their point of view, they miss all of the other views that could hold a further grasp of knowledge or change an argument completely. While it may be that much easier to stick to a one-sided moral, it will make a significantly bigger difference when people start being considerate of the other viewpoints. Jessica Mitford writes actively against embalming and funerals in America in her essay “The Story of Service.” In Mitford’s essay, it is obvious that she is against the embalming and funeral process of the United States, writing that by embalming people, it is a form of ignorance to death, almost as if people are avoiding it (Mitford 49). It would be easy for a reader to conclude that Mitford does not agree with funeral services, and may even want them gone. While she does provide an alternate view to how a reader would usually think of embalming and funeral services, ending these practices would have lots of negative effects that people would still not agree with. Some people want to see their loved ones at peace, some want a passed one to be in better condition than they were when they died. Furthermore, the industry of death employs around 58,600 between embalming and funeral planners (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “Summary”) (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “39-4011 Embalmers”). Tens of thousands of people would be without a job if the funeral services industry was abolished, which provides a very adverse position for many Americans just for the sake of a psychological view of death. Similarly, in “Consider the Lobster,” Wallace writes strongly opposed to the Maine Lobster Festival, but due to its vast economic importance found in the tourism and selling of goods, the likelihood of that event and business being abolished is slim to none (Wallace 460). Eliminating two traditional businesses such as the funeral services or lobstering would make people aggravated and generally resentful. However, compromise is readily available on both fronts. With the use of some open-mindedness, there is surely a middle ground between lobster eaters and lobster rights activists. A less painful or inhumane death could satisfy both fields of view for many. As for the funeral service field, families should be told about the embalmment choice, and funeral service providers should not avoid speaking of the death. Having two sides of every argument, and actually seeing both sides, is what can ultimately lead to important common grounds and compromises like these that can satisfy a larger group of people.
As deeply as it goes, consideration is a profoundly important part of the human brain. Its ability to determine and empathize with other’s morals is necessary to our way of life. It is far from an easy function, but being able to consider others will make our lies and the lives of others significantly more enjoyable. And on a planet of over 7 billion people with billions of other animals to account for, it is integral to our way of life. And without the education, importantly provided from people and authors like Wallace or Mitford, consideration would not be possible, and their open minds could not be shared. If you only hear one side to any story, your perspective is skewed from the beginning and formulating an alternate opinion is unlikely. If people are going to make decisions in which other lives, animals or otherwise, depend upon, then they are obligated to know the entire story with an open mind to every side. One of humanity’s greatest powers is consideration, as all decisions can stem from it; our job is to make sure we use it correctly.