Press Herald quotes Bayer in article on PETA lobster campaign
The Portland Press Herald spoke to Robert Bayer, the executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, for an article about a recent poster campaign in the Portland International Jetport by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA bought a month’s worth of advertisements at the jetport showing a lobster holding up a sign that reads, “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan.” Five years ago, PETA conducted an investigation of a processing plant for Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster Café, alleging that the company dismembered live lobsters, the Press Herald reports. The lobster industry is currently experiencing decline in total catch as well as facing the trade war with China, which is one of the largest international markets for Maine lobster. The city of Portland says the ads are protected under the First Amendment. Bayer said based on research, the nervous system of a lobster is more like that of an insect than a dog or cat, and lobsters likely do not feel pain. “How do you feel about swatting a mosquito or a fly?” he said. But while research does not support lobsters having advanced capabilities, it is ultimately inconclusive. “There’s never going to be an absolute answer. They’re not going to tell us,” Bayer said of the lobsters. He said lobsters can be placed in fresh water to put them to sleep before cooking, and acknowledged long-running tensions between PETA and the lobster industry. “I don’t know why they pick on lobster. I’ll cook them any time that I can,” Bayer said. Boston.com also reported on the campaign, quoting Bayer.