In response to Tony Martin’s letter (Record, Aug. 22), stating that I should apologize to the Chinese for stereotyping them as frog eaters:
A few months ago we watched a brilliant series of in-depth videos about China, its wildlife, and its people. In these videos we saw that the Chinese have for millennia eaten many of the food sources nature has to offer that we here in the West would not consider consuming (except of course the French, who do eat frogs, but apparently I must be careful in mentioning this for fear of stereotyping!).
Frogs of all sorts are regularly on the menu all over China. In some cases, even very rare species are caught and consumed and thus on the brink of extinction.
We do not have that problem with bullfrogs here, and no matter how many are caught, they will unfortunately never be on the brink of extinction on Vancouver Island, much as we may like them to be.
On the other hand, why would anyone feel good about sending sea cucumbers to the Chinese to eat when, according to the person who rang me up and didn’t give his name, but I assume must be Mr. Bowen, these animals do nothing except suck up and digest sludge and waste material from the sea floor. This includes, according to the caller, all the sludge and chemical runoff from agriculture that ends up in the ocean.
In fact these animals live best in sewage outfall areas, eating sewage (which begs the question, why not grow them in Victoria or Vancouver where raw sewage is released into the ocean and is a big problem?).
Why anyone here, or in China, would want to eat a creature that lives off poop and toxic waste is beyond me. The ethical conscience of anyone making money off sending this so-called food to China is also beyond me.
Mind you, the Chinese do seem happy enough to ship their pet food containing deadly melanine to us, and their BPA plastic products for our babies and children, and various bottled sauces containing shoe dye, along with numerous other products over the years that have been found to contain harmful and poisonous substances.
But personally, I couldn’t sleep at night being responsible for anyone eating sea cucumbers, especially when they could be eating organic frogs raised in the pristine ponds and wetlands of our wilderness areas.
It is also well-documented that the genitalia and various other body parts of our wildlife have been illegally bought by the Chinese over the years because of their belief in their aphrodisiac properties. We all know herring roe is sold to them for the same reason.
Thus it would seem that not only the legs would be a valuable item to the Chinese. We’ll never get back our animals that have been slaughtered solely for the purpose of taking these body parts, but perhaps the price paid for frog reproductive organs could be used for fish and wildlife protection and preservation in some way.
Some of you seem to think my suggestion about a massive bullfrog industry on the Island is merely meant to be humourous. I assure you, I am completely serious, and I really don’t understand why someone with entrepreneurial inclinations and skills hasn’t yet jumped at the opportunity. Sea cucumbers and coal mines are so much more problematic and cause so much more environmental havoc than harvesting, processing and selling bullfrogs.