LAST UPDATED: 11 March 2015
Lucky Larry hadn't been that lucky when Don MacKenzie first found him. In fact, he wasn't even 'Larry'. He was just a nameless lobster in a small tank, at a local seafood restaurant in the town of East Lyme, Connecticut. But Larry caught Don's eye...
For a lobster to live this long and avoid lobster traps, nets, lobster pots ... he doesn't deserve a bib and butter. He deserves to live.Larry's rescuer, Don MacKenzie
You see, Larry is the size of a Jack Russell and is estimated to be at least 80 years old. This means he's lived through the Great Depression, the second World War, the moon landing, and the invention of the internet!
And if you thought that made Larry old, there might be lobsters out there who are even older! Scientists believe that lobsters may be biologically immortal – ie. they don't die of old age. They don't suffer from any decline in strength or health with age, and can just keep on keeping on... unless they get caught by a predator.
Larry had evaded capture much longer than most. At just 8 years of age lobsters are large enough to be considered a 'meal'. Those who are unlucky enough to be caught will often have their lives cut short by years, if not decades, when they are tossed into cooking pots and served up in restaurants. This was the fate that now awaited Larry too...
The idea of being dropped live into boiling water should be enough to make anyone anxious ... and in fact, scientists now believe crustaceans experience anxiety in much the same way we do. Not only that, lobsters like Larry are also extremely sensitive to temperature, and have been shown to experience pain.
But thanks to Don, Larry has nothing to worry about — now or hopefully ever. When Don looked at Larry, he didn't see what made him different to us, he saw a thinking, feeling animal with the same desire we all share — to live a long life, safe from harm. And he acted on that.
Don shelled out an undisclosed amount to save Larry, and set out to release him back into a secret location beneath the choppy, blue waters of Long Island Sound. Local children lined the docks, chanting "Let Larry live! Let Larry live!" as the bridge operator sounded a siren to signal an official farewell from the locals. If he can evade the lobster pots, Larry might go on living off the coast of Connecticut for many more years to come.
You can be a friend to marine animals too!
While they may not be as cute or cuddly as the animals we share our homes with, our growing understanding of lobsters, fish, crayfish, prawns and other marine animals has revealed them to be unique individuals, with complex emotional lives and a desire to be free from suffering.
You can help save lobsters like Larry from cooking pots too by joining the growing number of people making the choice to take marine animals off their plates. Take the pledge today to protect animals and our oceans.