Wrong is Right
Thank you for your rambling and thought-provoking piece.
Published: July 31, 2013
Thank you for your rambling and thought-provoking piece “Double Dipping” (Mr. Wrong, July 24). Usually for these sort of articles, it has to be batshit-crazy complaining or straight “academic/business” talk about economics. Your essay covered things as I feel is more authentic—more questions than answers and yet more hints at answers and challenges to search for them than resignation. Your article reflected my attitude and I suspect that of many residents of Baltimore—a healthy suspicion that our safety is not a priority and that, while we all definitely appreciate having some nice new zones of development, our short and long- term good as actual citizens of Baltimore is also not a priority—especially if you don’t have a lot of money. I don’t think this is unique to Baltimore—it seems to be the way our country runs as a whole.
Thank you also for pointing out good places to get further info, such as the Baltimore Brew. I often find the common reply to criticism of politics futile: “Well, what would you do better?”—this bypasses the obvious truth, that there’s not a whole lot we can do because a lot of what the powers-that-be do is behind closed doors. It also bypasses our natural right to question, and the power and creativity that comes from questioning, from humor and satire and in maybe daring to ask people to think about alternatives. It’s nice to see someone else not knowing for sure, admitting to the contradictions and then asking the necessary questions anyways.
Fish are friends, not food
In a time of increasing attention to the unsustainability of current food production systems, the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) in Baltimore, Maryland intends to, according to Wednesday’s City Paper, “take the science of growing clean, healthy salt-water fish to the global marketplace.” (“The Economy of Scales,” July 24)
Certainly, fishing has decimated our worlds’ oceans; this is not new news. But efforts like ARC’s miss the point. A conscious response to the state of affairs in our “food” supply is incomplete if it does not acknowledge that animals such as fish are sentient beings with the intrinsic right to be left alone in their natural habitats, not to be forcibly bred, exploited for profit, and killed by human beings—no matter where this is done or how “sustainable” it is for industry.
Statistics about fish populations are often couched in language that treats the worlds’ oceans like a numbers game, where everything is fine as long as populations are kept in check, and efforts like ARC exist to offset “overfishing.” This masks the terror and suffering felt by individual fish as their lives are taken from them through captivity or capture, suffocation and mutilation—whether in their natural habitats or in ARC’s laboratory.
We suggest that ARC invest in habitat protection and educational efforts rather than making profit in the “economy of scales,” from the City Paper article’s chilling headline. Our worlds’ waters are filled with sentient aquatic beings who deserve nothing less than the opportunity to be left alone and live their lives, and we would do well to teach this to our children.
Our friends at Fish Feel (fishfeel.org), the sole organization devoted exclusively to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection, have compiled some expert opinions on fish. John Webster, emeritus professor at the University of Bristol, stated that “A powerful portfolio of physiological and behavioral evidence now exists to support the case that fish feel pain and that this feeling matters. In the face of such evidence, any argument to the contrary based on the claim that fish ‘do not have the right sort of brain’ can no longer be called scientific. It is just obstinate.”
Ultimately, our moral consideration for any animal should not rest on how much their behavior (or their misery) reminds us of our own. Fish—those surviving in their natural environments and those bred and killed for profit by ARC—deserve to live free from human interference because they are sentient individuals, here to control their own destinies, not to satiate our palates or line our pocketbooks. We demand of ARC: Empty the tanks. Invest in ocean protection, including protection of all ocean inhabitants, and educational efforts for our community. Divest from exploitation and the taking of sentient lives.
Until all are free,
Erin J. Marcus
Director, Open the Cages Alliance
Thank you very much for the lovely review of the Chesapeake (“The Chesapeake Rises,” Eats and Drinks, July 24). I wanted to clear up some confusion about the Chesapeake’s Coconut “Snowball” dessert. The Coconut Snowball was originally a dessert on the classic Chesapeake’s menu before it closed; it consisted of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce and fresh grated coconut topping. The reinterpretation of the “Snowball” that is currently on the menu is a two-layer triple coconut cake with chocolate ganache, chocolate sauce, toasted coconut, cocoa sorbet on chocolate shortbread crumble, and coconut creme anglaise. I would love for you to come in and try the Coconut “Snowball” again, or try our new Balti-s’more, which is the dessert pictured with your article.
Aiken is pastry chef at the Chesapeake.
Editor’s Note: City Paper publisher Jennifer Marsh resigned last week after a 24-year run, which began with a stint as an editorial intern in 1988. She’s been a monumental asset to the paper, and her presence will be missed. Michael Wagner has stepped in as interim publisher.