Letter: Hunting the lobster

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Having previously decried speciesism, Paul Rees (letter, 27 July) now seems to admit that all species are not equal, in that vertebrates are more certainly capable of suffering. In this, he has exposed the great flaw in the doctrine of innate animal rights, as opposed to the more pragmatic notion of animal welfare: if the ability to suffer dictates rights, then how and where should we draw the line?

Mr Rees may find that his distinction between vertebrates and invertebrates is based on wishful thinking. I note that Julie Roxburgh, of the Shellfish Network (letter, 27 July) says of lobsters and crabs: "There is at present no process of killing these creatures that does not cause them pain and distress."

I suspect that if shellfish were gathered by specially trained dogs followed by red-faced men on horseback, New Labour might consider a Bill to ban lobster-coursing.


Stocksfield, Northumberland