The barbaric highlight of the night was when the children were instructed to use the squid’s pseudo-spine to puncture its ink sac and then write their names on the carcass. [My son] Ari rolled his eyes at this vanity ritual in disbelief, calling it “mean” and “crazy.” I’ll go one step further and brand it “borderline satanic.”That's one or two steps too far for me. Performing this procedure on a live squid would certainly be mean, perhaps even cruel enough to trigger the hyperbolic use of "satanic" in an extremely sympathetic observer. But the squid in question were long dead.
If they weren't being used for educational purposes, they would be unceremoniously ripped apart, chopped up, and tossed in boiling oil. I suspect that most of the kids (and parents) who were "grossed out" by the dissection would be happy to eat fried calamari, without thinking about the "cruelty" of the process behind it--and without learning anything at all about biology.
At least the kids who observed the dissection and got their hands dirty learned something, instead of just getting a few calories of protein. And they didn't just learn squid anatomy. They didn't just learn how to cut things open. Educational experience like this aren't just about training future surgeons, as the author of the piece seems to think:
Sure, it might give a few kids a head start on being a surgeon. But on this rare (and yucky) occasion, the otherwise conscientious New England Aquarium fails big time in encouraging“respect” for life.I disagree. These kids gained fundamental knowledge about and experience of organic life. Life is beautiful and amazing, but also yucky and gross, and yes, that includes us humans, too.
I'm not in favor of wanton death and destruction for any purpose, comestible or educational. But I think diverting a relatively small number of already dead squid from the massive commerical operation for kids to observe and learn about life--and death--is a valid endeavor.