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It boggles my mind

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

Oct. 26, 2022

“That seems kind of harsh.”

Those were the words my son, Jake, uttered as I explained to him what I was doing chasing shrimp around their tank with a net.

What was I doing? I was “culling” shrimp.

The tiny freshwater shrimp I raise as part of my aquarium hobby are “red cherry” neocaridinas. As the name implies, they’re a deep cherry red color. When a female shrimp delivers a clutch of babies, there may be 20 “shrimplets” born. Of those, maybe five will be “high grade” with dark, vibrant color. Another 10 will be “mid-grade” with the red slightly less vibrant or consistent. Another five will be “low-grade,” and they’ll show orange/brown coloration.

It's a common practice to “cull” the low-grade shrimp (sometimes even the mid-grade) and remove them from the tank to preserve the “best genes” for breeding. When I recently culled my tank, I placed the low-grade shrimp in one of my other tanks, currently inhabited by a betta fish named Solo.

“Won’t Solo eat the shrimp?” Jake asked.

“He might,” I said. “If they live, they live. If they don’t, Solo gets live lunch.”

That’s when Jake gave his “that seems kind of harsh” response. He didn’t love the idea of essentially setting the ugly shrimp up to be lunch. A few of my friends/family members gave similar responses.

I thought about the reactions to my shrimp culling a lot as I worked on this annual Respect Life edition of the North Country Catholic.

It boggles my mind that people I know and love think culling my $2 shrimp is harsh, but large portions of our society think it’s their right to essentially cull babies, criminals, the sick and elderly…

My shrimp don’t have personalities that I can discern. They aren’t made in the image and likeness of God. They don’t have souls that will live for eternity. Yet somehow pets seem to be afforded more compassion and dignity than some people.

Please join me this Respect Life Month to pray that our layers of government and the people they govern have a change of heart and learn to love all life from conception to natural death.

Anything else is way worse than harsh.

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