Animal-Rights Groups Scream (Crustaceans Are "Individuals," Too), as "Lobster Claw" Games Catch On in Valley Bars

MonsterClaw.jpg
Pizza, beer and lobsters? The lobster claw game at Bostons's Pizza Kitchen in Tempe.
It appears the claw's on the other foot for area lobsters as the newest rage in crustacean entertainment is hitting area bars harder than the whipping tail of a lobster heading for the boiler.

The Love Maine Lobster Claw, a product of a Maine based company with distributors in Phoenix called "Love Maine Lobster," is popping up in bars around Phoenix; here's how it works: It's nearly identical to crane games found in arcades and carnivals, where players navigate a robotic claw over a sea of stuffed animals, toys and other novelties, with the hopes of retrieving a prize for a first-date or a stuffed animal for a little sister. Well, replace the toys with live Maine lobsters and you have The Love Maine Lobster Claw.

Charbel Haroni, general manager of Boston's Gourmet Pizza in Tempe, one of two Valley bars that feature the machines, says customers love the gadget and that it's helped replace some revenue lost in the turbulent economy.

"If you grab it, I cook it," he says enthusiastically. "Imagine that! A lobster dinner for $2! Can you believe that?"

Because of the success the machine at Boston's, Haroni says, friends who own other area bars -- like Barney's Boathouse and Macayo's Mexican Kitchen, both in Tempe -- have opted to order their own lobster machines.

"This thing makes more money than I do some nights," says Boston's waiter Bill Kirk, alluding to the fact that the crafty critters inside the tank are hard to grab. "We named the big one [lobster] 'Hellboy;' he's a beast."

While everyone tries for "Hellboy," Kirk says he's only seen two people actually fish a lobster out of the tank with the big robotic claw.

"Everybody loves it though," he says. "Someone's always using it, and all their friends crowd around to watch."

With all this fun going on at the lobsters' expense, someone must be pissed. Right?

Of course they are.

Lindsey Wright, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says the machine is taking a game designed for children and using it to exploit animals.

"Incarcerating lobsters in filthy crowded tanks in noisy bars, before boiling them to death, is as reprehensible as doing it to a dog or cat," she says. "It's a cruel game where the lobsters always lose."

Dr. Elliot Katz, spokesman for the animal rights group "In Defense of Animals," finds the game equally disturbing.

"Lobsters are individuals with their own special needs," Katz says. "It's just demeaning to the lobster -- it's just making fun, and it doesn't send a good message."

Whether or not Katz's claim that lobsters can actually feel embarrassment is true, one thing is certain: Lobsters are delicious, and The Love Maine Lobster Claw is a scream (also similar to a lobster on his way to the boiler).

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3 comments
I eat animals...
I eat animals...

"Killing an animal for food is normal, we have rules for that: swift and humane."

Who is "we"? I have heard stories all my life about the brutality of the meat industries. Cows being hung by their back legs and skinned alive while they bleed out to hinder meat contamination.

A quick google search will provide TONS of pages like this...

http://www.freewebs.com/robveg...

Here are a couple good ones from that page...

"Male cattle in the beef industry are castrated to make them more docile and to promotes a fattier (more profitable) animal. Anesthetics are seldom used."

"Redskins" are chickens on the "conveyor belt to death" which missed not just the brine-filled electrified stunning trough but also the knife that should have cut their throats. Their deaths occur in the scald tank where feathers are loosened before plucking. Piles of them are thrown aside every day.

In comparison... a game of tag before they go into the pot seems a little less cruel to me.

Zephan984
Zephan984

I would eat a poodles if you could catch em with a game like like that. I'm sure they taste good too. I've eaten alligator , pigeon, turtle, snails , squid , ray fish , cow tongue, goat, rabbit, and many other animals. Im sure if you were lost in the wild some predator would not be concerned in the least as to what method he's going to use to maul you to death and then consume you.

Eric
Eric

Lovely publication you've got here - the case in favor for regulating freedom of speech.

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