The oracle octopus


Paul the octopus is retiring! I’m kinda sad. I was enjoying the octopus oracle reports. Apparently, despite an offer from Wall Street, Paul will be returning to his day job ‘making children laugh’ at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen. Fingers crossed no angry German tries to take him down after his betrayal with the Germany vs Spain prediction.

On the subject of animals, I did not enjoy Masterchef AT ALL last night. The pressure test was a roasted squab pigeon with a turnip cake. I’d never heard of squab before but the celebrity chef’s description – a baby pigeon that’s kept in the dark and has never taken flight – horrified me. How is it that animals can still be subjected to such cruelty? I’m surprised PETA isn’t up in arms about this one. Maybe they’re more of a Dancing with the Stars crowd. Or maybe they’re just busy campaigning for Paul’s release.

I’m reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Saffran Foer at the moment. It was given to me for my birthday (at my request) but I was wary of reading it because I didn’t want to be subjected to another you-must-go-vegan-right-now-otherwise-you-are-a-terrible-human-being rant a la Skinny Bitch. It’s addictive. The tone of the book is nothing like what I imagined. The author speaks of his own experiences with eating meat and vegetarianism, but rather than trying to project his views onto the reader, he just presents them. He doesn’t try to condemn eating meat as bad or wrong, but he does ask a lot of questions. Questions that have really been making me think about my own attitude to food. I’m not very far through it at the moment but it’s made me realise that things aren’t so black and white, and perhaps judging things on a case-by-case basis is more useful than, for want of a better phrase, tarring everything with the same brush.

Case in point: Paul the octopus. He’s clearly an intelligent (and yes, I believe he has some kind of psychic powers – nothing is that coincidental) yet he’s stuck in a tiny box in an aquarium. But why? Is he part of a breeding program to preserve his particular species? Was he rescued from unfortunate circumstances and brought to safety at the aquarium? Maybe he was just plucked out of the ocean and rehoused for human pleasure, but my point is, sometimes there’s more to a situation than there first appears. Sometimes what may be perceived to be cruel by people who don’t have all the facts is not necessarily the case. Of course, this works both ways. Apparently free-range does not mean what we think it means.


One Response to “The oracle octopus”

  1. 1 Kristian

    I was totally horrified about the squab pigeon too! I took an instant dislike to the chef who’s recipe it was and wanted to punch her in the head!

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