PETA proposes Lobster Empathy Center for Skowhegan jail
By Sharon Kiley Mack
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - Bangor Daily News
SKOWHEGAN, Maine - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a proposal to the Somerset County commissioners to lease their jail for the world’s first Lobster Empathy Center.
The central Maine county is constructing a new jail and has put the century-old jail in downtown Skowhegan up for sale. The Realtor handling the sale called the offer "likely a publicity stunt."
"A prison is the perfect setting to demonstrate how lobsters suffer when they are caught in traps or confined to cramped, filthy supermarket tanks," PETA wrote in a June 2 letter to the commissioners. "The center will teach visitors to have compassion for these interesting, sensitive animals while also commemorating the millions of lobsters who are ripped from their homes in the ocean off the coast of Maine each year before being boiled alive."
Commissioner Chairman Phil Roy, who doesn’t care for lobster, was at a loss for words Monday afternoon.
"I’m shocked and I don’t know what to say. I didn’t realize Skowhegan was the coastal community PETA was looking for," Roy said, with tongue in cheek.
As the crow flies, the distance from Skowhegan to Rockland, home of the Maine Lobster Festival and a lobster fishing port, is approximately 53 miles.
"The lobster capital of the state of Maine certainly isn’t here," Roy said. He said it was odd that PETA would object to the jail conditions for lobsters but had never filed a complaint on behalf of the human inmates incarcerated there.