Most people only consider shrimp as entities to be consumed, components of a cocktail. So, there is often no audience with whom to have a discussion about the ethics of these particularly delightful creatures. Given recent reports coming out of the Gulf Coast, though, I think this may change:
SCOTT EUSTIS: We have some evidence of deformed shrimp, which is another developmental impact, so that shrimp’s grandmother was exposed to oil while the mother was developing, but it’s the grandchild of the shrimp that was exposed grows up with no eyes.
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Shrimp in the Gulf Coast no longer have eyes. And it isn't just shrimp that were alive at the time of the BP Oil Spill. Three generations later, shrimp in the gulf coast have evolved to not have eyes. This isn't a case of oil being spilled, some seagulls died, and we cleaned it up and moved on. This isn't an accident that created a mess within history from which we can move on.
The BP Oil Spill genetically modified marine life in the Gulf Coast to such a degree that the fucking shrimp no longer have fucking eyes.
Discussing this in terms of how many dollars we ought to fine them is more than laughable. It doesn't even seem rationally possible to quantify this, or even articulate it, in ethical terms. This isn't a finite mess, a limited scope of problems, or even a minor one-time inconvenience.
BP's oil spill caused a species of animal to lose its fucking eyes.
I don't know how to rationally react to this, or how to even frame the beginnings of an argument against it. Do we try to discuss this in terms of economics, ethics, morality? Are any of those conceptual frameworks even capable of fully grasping this atrocity? I'd be curious to know what other people think. Other than just ignoring this, how do you begin to mentally deal with the fact that human activity rendered a species to be eyeless; we cause Gulf Coast shrimp to evolve-away their eyes. How can we even begin to conceptualize the magnitude of this?
Previously, I thought that splitting the atom or traveling to the moon were fairly significant human impacts. But now that we're evolving eyes out of species...
Where do we start that conversation?