When I was a teenager, for my birthday, as a special treat, my mother purchased a live lobster for me to cook and eat. I was impressed that she would do that for me, since eating crustaceans was not at all a common occurrence in our family. In fact, they were never eaten, perhaps for religious reasons or because there was limited money.

When I went to drop it in the pot of boiling water, I had the sudden realization that this object that I was holding was a living animal that had been taken out of its environment just for the purpose of being eaten. I did eat it, but the feeling of causing needless suffering in such a cruel manner has stayed with me ever since.

These days when I shop at the local supermarket, I inevitably pass the tank of lobsters for sale, crammed into the small space, unfed and swimming in unfiltered water that most likely has their waste products in it. I cringe as I pass it, envisioning every one of them being dropped into boiling water, suffering for those few moments until they perish. I cannot bear to think about it.

While I realize that lobstering is an important business in Maine and that the flesh of the animal is delicious, I wish that people would end their consumption of these sensitive animals. There is no reason why lobsters should be killed in such a manner for the few minutes of pleasure. I haven’t eaten them since my childhood experience.

Len Frenkel

South Portland