Is it good to eat commercially grown soft shell crabs?

Image from Adam Kuban's Flickr
Often looks like something out from Aliens movie, soft shell crab dishes could look intimidating when you can still see its complete parts, but it's a nice treat anyway, especially with its texture.

Recently I have this dilemma though, about consuming soft shell crab ("kepiting soka" in Indonesia), due to how it's commercially cultivated: the young crabs' legs are mutilated to stress the crab, thus in turn soften their shells. The process itself takes about 20 days.

During the whole process, they're left with just the last pair of legs; the swimming legs so they can still move around in the cage and feed themselves, while failure in mutilating process could cause the crab's death.

Mutilated soft shell crab -
While the legs will re-grow eventually since that's the crab's nature, but isn't it cruel? I mean we foodies often talk about banning the commercially created Foie Gras for its inhumane treatment to the goose, and banning shark fins for similar reasons, but now we're encountered something similar and think it's alright.

Different with the "forced" soft shell crab though, what happens in the wild is quite different; no cruelty it's all natural so there's no ethical issue:
For a crab to become larger, it must first discard its old shell and form a new one, which it does periodically throughout its life. To do this, it forms a new 'coat' under its old shell, then swells itself up enough to cause the top and bottom halves of the shell to separate, starting at the back. (source)

You are what you eat

On another perspective, is it good for our spirit to eat something that's created through so much stress? In the distance past there are cannibalistic tribes who eats their enemies believing they will absorb its live power, or forbidding eating specific kind of meal for believing it has bad aura.

I once watched an episode on NatGeo about the Maasai warriors traveling to US, and they refused to bought "fainting goats" that freezes upon feeling fear, for fearing that it's contagious and interfere with their hunting skill; though the farmer has stated that researches shows it doesn't.

I guess the warriors still believes that you are what you eat; perhaps you would too if your life depends on hunting top predator like lions.

More about Congenital myotonia (also myotonia congenita) a.k.a. the Fainting Goats syndrome here.

Any thoughts on this? (byms)


boulevardsg said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information?
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Unknown said...

People have told me also that the have done special 'treatment' to the goose before taking their liver? I just don't want to go ahead with that information, and stop eating foie gras.