I took it on Kerguelen island, that's not a very good picture but you get the idea, a nice engineering detail is that the handle that turns the spiked rollers also has a blade and slices the pressed penguins into smaller slices.
Most of the time though (at least on Kerguelen) penguins were only used as fuel to render seal oil. The penguin oil itself was not used as much because it was less valuable.
Edit here's another picture of the same tool which better shows it maybe:
I did find another, very different, device in this French news article which is a peat press in a Paris museum exhibit about Kerguelen, which was mistakenly called a "penguin press". It was actually used to make peat bricks, either as building material or as fuel.
So is there some myth that means that any press-like device on Kerguelen is assumed to have been used on penguins?
It was "common knowledge" but I'm not that surprised either to hear that it's wrong.
If they have any oral history or anything of the sort...
Whether for using as fuel or for rendering their fat, they were not butchered to get only the useful parts and were processed whole instead (which is why the oil was often contaminated with feathers as the article says).
But I wasn't there then of course, and it's not described in "15,000 Miles in a Ketch", one of the best accounts of the era that I know of. Maybe it's better talked about in "Narrative of the Wreck of the Favorite on the Island of Desolation" because the author, John Nunn, was taking part in a more "industrial" seal harvesting operation but I haven't read it yet. In any case I recommend reading at least the first of these books, and the second book is likely interesting as well if one is curious about that era.
I am a lifelong vegetarian, but I am not sure that my partner would let me get away with going totally vegan. Things like this make me want to: at least plants don't have a central nervous system and the ability to feel pain or fear. They're also far more energy efficient as a food and fuel source.
I feel like I need cheering up after reading this article!
Because they're so easy to catch. Also,the advantage (from a purely economic, not moral or ecological, point of view) of using wild marine animals for this is that you don't have to grow fodder for them or even set aside land for grazing.
Penguin eggs are still eaten in the Falkland Islands, though AFAIK commercial harvesting is illegal. Apparently the white remains translucent even when hard-boiled.
And were fatty, as are many sub-Antarctic warm blooded animals.
That's... about it.
As for cheering up, remember that being vegetarian and vegan does make a large difference at the individual level, not just at a collective level. Every chicken you don't eat is practically a full animal that didn't have to suffer. The animal agriculture industry does react to demand, and on average, you're individual effect is at least equal to the animals you would otherwise consume.
For one, while the chickens aren't abused while they lay eggs, are they killed when they stop laying eggs regularly, after about 2 years? Chickens live for up to 12 years, but only lay eggs regularly for around 2 to 4. It's possible they are raised for their full lifespan, but it's something to ask about, nonetheless.
Second, roughly for every laying hen purchased, there was a male chick that had no economic value, so it was killed shortly after it was sexed. This is done by hen breeders and is outside the control of those who actually keep the hens, short of not buying the hens in the first place.
I'm not sure what you want to do about roosters. I'd be willing to bet most male jungle fowl die young in the wild too due to lack of flock protection and battles for territory and mates. A more humane way to kill them would be better, but the fact that they don't go to some farm somewhere that somehow has space to keep them more or less separated as they generally don't get along with other roosters is kind of just a fact of life. That would be quite the lonely life when you think about it too. The same way breeding stallions are often miserable and starved for equine interaction.
Yeah up to 12 was meant to communicate a rough upper bound, not typical lifespans. Same for the 4 years or regular egg production figure, upper bound. The important part is that hen lifespans are significantly longer than their egg laying years, and all commercial and many individual farmers don't want to spend money on a hen that doesn't lay eggs.
> I'm not sure what you want to do about roosters.
Well, we could not breed them in the first place, since we know they'll need to be immediately killed.
I think we're going to be at odds with each other on livestock no matter what because of different views on death. If an animal lives a long, rough, miserable life and dies of old age, that to me is an awful thing to do to an animal. If an animal lives a pleasant but short life and is well treated before it is humanely killed, I see no tragedy in that. My problem with eating meat is that the animal's short life is not a good one in the vast majority of cases. However, I have no problem at all with that life being ended humanely well before they reach old age. Death in itself is not a tragedy. Living in poor conditions or past the point where you can function without pain absolutely is.
> Death in itself is not a tragedy. Living in poor conditions or past the point where you can function without pain absolutely is.
Do you hold the same stance when it come to human life?
Or what about the penguins in the article? They lived typical penguin lives and were presumably killed relativly quickly.
The problem I have with what happened to these penguins is how wasteful it was. Relatively little was produced and everything else was wasted. And using a living creature as fuel to render its compatriots into a low-quality, low-yield product. The fact that they died isn't really the upsetting thing to me here. It's the wasteful nature of the process and the impact on the species and the environment.
I'll happily, very happily in fact, eat bison. They're delicious. I would have no problem killing and butchering one myself. Shooting them en masse and leaving the carcasses to rot as happened early in the history of the US is beyond repulsive to me.
Eggs as a delicacy rather than as a major part of the diet.
All very interesting, thanks!
EDIT: apparently there are more calm rooster breeds:
“If you want to choose breeds with a reputation for calm or friendly roosters, Faverolles are my favorite, and Barred Rocks are also very nice. Orpingtons and Cochins and Brahmas also have a reputation as nice, calm birds. Many people love Silkie roosters, too.” https://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-help/...
But for these penguins, there is no respect (still not sure if this is the best word) to speak of. You just cut them into pieces and boil thousands of them in a steampot, then discard most of it. The oil you get is in small quantities and is not even of high quality. The animal is treated as a thing to be used up, without any value.
That's not to say what was done to the penguins and what is done to cows isn't truely horrible. Just that human emotional responses to widespread atrocities are surprisingly fleeting, and those emotional responses don't reliabily indicate moral objection and can't be relied upon to bring change.
Oil is 'food' for machines, and it certainly doesn't need to come from live creatures.
To steam alive penguins by the thousands to produce measly 400g of oil, while wasting the rest of the carcass - that's barbaric. This whole process has simultaneously Nazi and Matrix vibes to it.
Sounds pretty gnarly when you put it that way.
Totally ok to butcher your own chickens though.
Best served drizzled with bee vomit.
I like the idea of animal products as a delicacy with the animals treated kindly the whole time, as pets.
It's arguably the most humane method; alternative methods include gassing with CO2, smothering them in plastic bags, or breaking their necks. Definitely morbid and gruesome, regardless.
Not really that unbelievable, given that's pretty much how it went for every seal population when they were hunted for skins by Europeans.
Might want to slap a NSFW tag on this title.
Complete disrespect of other living creatures.
Warning: this book will probably give you mental trauma.
Thanks, I’ll check the book out. I’m currently reading the Jakarta Method though, so I’ll need a break with something a bit less bleak.