Law enforcement officials to review cruelty complaint against lobster processor

ROCKLAND — Local law enforcement leaders say they will review a complaint filed by an animal rights group which wants criminal charges to be filed against Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster company over its processing of the seafood.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau and Rockland police Chief Bruce Boucher both said Thursday they had received the complaint filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Boucher said he is in consultation with the district attorney on how to proceed with the matter.

Rushlau said he would need to review the complaint before determining whether to take action or not.

The veteran prosecutor noted this would be the first time in his career that he has received an animal cruelty complaint involving lobsters or any type of seafood.

He pointed out that the animal cruelty statute in Maine covers all “sentient” animals. Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines sentient as “having the power of perception by the senses; conscious” and “characterized by sensation and consciousness.”

Attorney Stephen Hayes, who represents Linda Bean, said the claims by PETA were groundless. He said he does not consider a lobster to be a sentient animal.

Bean’s processing plant in Rockland meets or exceeds all industry and government regulations and standards, Hayes said. He said the process used at the Rockland plant is nearly identical to those in all Maine and Canadian plants.

Bean is proud of being part of a Maine heritage that goes back hundreds of years, her attorney said. He claimed that PETA was being hypocritical in saying it wants a more humane way to kill lobsters when its goal is to stop all animals from being used for food.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association also have criticized PETA’s attack on Bean’s processing plant.

PETA held a news conference Tuesday when it unveiled a video that the organization said had been taken by an operative who obtained a full-time job at the plant and wore a camera to obtain the footage. PETA claims the methods used at the plant are illegal because they tear sensitive animals apart while they’re alive and fully conscious. PETA also claimed that the treatment of crabs at the plant was cruel.

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JOHN PAINTER's picture

The police may want to speak

The police may want to speak with me as well. I give the Sun Journal permission to pass along my personal information from this online account to the police. I confess to being a mass murderer of countless thousands of lobster. I committed these acts growing up in Owls Head, and it started early in my life, and I'm sure there are many there who remember those acts. Sadly, I was taught by a number of family members and other community leaders to get up early and regardless of calm or stormy weather, relentlessly track down, trap, and sell for a bounty, countless numbers of lobster from Mussel Ridge.

If you think that is bad, I learned much of that from my grandfather, who as Captain of a trawler out of Rockland was responsible for unimaginable horror for millions of herring - which after chasing around the coast, surrounding with nets, and pumping the huddled masses on board his vessel - would order his crew to throw shovels of salt onto the suffocating masses. But even his cruelty paled to the raw savagery of my uncle who, in the deep cold of winter would take my cousin and I out on the bay where we would drag heavy steel chain over beds of unsuspecting scallops, and, upon hauling them onto the deck, eviscerate them right before our eyes - no anesthesia, nothing! I bet there's not sushi chef around who would envy what he would do next.... yes eating that still twitching adductor muscle. I confess to having done that too... and liking it.

Sadly I have passed this behavior to my son (11 years old), who I caught last night taking a shower and brushing his teeth - yes killing tens of millions of bacteria (living creatures) with no compassion.

Seriously I appreciate that PETA is looking out for the welfare of animals, I happen to have two rescue dogs myself and bristle when I think of their treatment in a puppy mill, I do not see animal cruelty they purport. Though, as everyone reading this knows now, I and many of my family members, are all mass murderers.

Thomas Hamilton's picture

Well said.

Well said.

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