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Horseshoe crabs

Lou

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I'm a big fan of podcasts. Listen to them at the gym, on runs, walks, doing chores, driving in the car, and as bedtime stories.

One of my favorites is RadioLab

This week on RadioLab they did a great story on Horseshoe crabs. A lot of the episode was about how they are exploited by the pharmaceutical industry. But the last bit is how they are protected and cared for by the same industry. By the way, they are not farmed. They are kidnapped and some of their blood is stolen. By some estimates at least 15% die during this process. Which turns out to be a number in the tens of thousands.

this number is not as alarming as it first seems. Each female crab lays 100,000 eggs. On the other hand, the eggs and babies are incredibly vulnerable to predation.

It's a complex story that can really make you think about how amazing evolution is. And the complex relationships between humans and animals. also between exploitation and conservation.

Totally recommend it.

Listen to Baby Blue Blood Drive from Radiolab in Podcasts. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radiolab/id152249110?mt=2&i=1000418708444
 
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Forest Nymph

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I finally listened to this podcast, and I also scanned a related article in the Atlantic after I listened. I thought it was interesting how they talked about saving the lives of rabbits, and how the the crabs weren't killed...and yet then elaborated that the bleeding of the living crabs is still detrimental, it can make them slow, sluggish and less likely to breed, that's still a form of animal abuse even if a low-ish number dies.

From my understanding the role of "conservation" springing from pharmaceutical companies using the blood simply means that the crabs are "protected" from being used by fishermen. I don't think this as complex as the honeybee issue (some argue that more "ethical" methods of raising bees for honey is what is literally keeping bee populations stable)...I think the horseshoe crabs could be protected from waste from fishermen by PETA or the Sierra Club without the bleeding being performed. That's just my take on it.
 

Lou

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I think the horseshoe crabs could be protected from waste from fishermen by PETA or the Sierra Club without the bleeding being performed. That's just my take on it.
Yes. the thing that made me think the story was complex was how it yanked around my emotions.
I've seen horseshoe crabs - or at least their carcasses. They are revolting. :eek:
but they are so interesting:)
we drain their blood:eek:
but they save bunnies:)
we take good care of them:)
but many of them die:(