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A Frog in My Throat -- Invitation to Write #29

For Writers:

"In restaurants where they serve frog's legs, what do they do with the rest of the frog? Do they just throw it away? You never see "frog torsos" on the menu. Is there actually a garbage can full of frog bodies in the alley? I wouldn't want to be the homeless guy looking for an unfinished cheeseburger and open the lid on that." --George Carlin

I'll eat food on a cruise ship that I'd have no interest eating on land. Chilled soups, escargot, frog legs, bring it on. So on the last cruise, a table mate and I ate frog legs while our wives looked on in disgust. And David asked a question that apparently a lot of people ask: "What do they do with the rest of the frog?" Once I got home, I thought I'd try to find out.

The answer is rather sad; France is the country that places the highest demand on the frog leg trade, and Southeast Asia is the main supplier. Apparently, however, frogs don't receive very humane treatment in Southeast Asia, and it's not uncommon for suppliers to rip their legs right off, discarding the still living, now legless body on large frog torso heaps. These frogs slowly die, and if you believe that a frog feels pain, then there's a whole heap of pain rotting in the Asian sun. All for a pair of legs.

Not only is the practice of how the frogs are killed upsetting, but also disturbing is the ecological consequences of eliminating all of these frogs. Frogs eat bugs, and bugs spread disease -- including malaria. So, eliminate the frog from its place in the ecosystem, and you reek all sorts of havoc.

I don't plan to look any deeper into the ethical and ecological problems that exist in the mass killing of cows, pigs, and chickens, because I'm not quite ready to convert to a vegan diet. I do plan, however, to be a bit more careful about what kinds of food I'll eat on a cruise ship in the future. There's no doubt that frog legs are tasty, but now that I know about the underlying problems associated with the frog trade, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Have you ever felt guilty eating certain foods? Maybe you're not contributing to something like the frog trade problem, but your life does come at a cost. How do you reconcile the fact that you sustain your life through the death of countless thousands? From the death of plants and animals is your life sustained, but how much killing and death is your life worth?


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