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July 21, 2009 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Eat at Doug's. An Orlando Weekly reporter investigates the existence of secret manatee eating clubs in Florida.
posted by Telf (87 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't stand the judgmental prick who wrote the story. I mean, just tell 'em what you saw, what the interviewees said. Don't go on about how awful the guy is with his greasy jeans and bad diet. Terrible excuse for journalism.
posted by Mister_A at 9:46 AM on July 21, 2009


I've never looked at a manatee and thought "that would be great on a plate with some hot sauce", but I do like this quote from the article: "A vegetarian? What in the hell for? If God didn't want us to eat meat, he wouldn't have made it so damn tasty."
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:50 AM on July 21, 2009


The adjective, greasy, does get thrown around a bit at the beginning. Lost opportunity for some excellent synonyms there.

Manatee meat makes a lot of sense if you think about it. They're like nature's veal. (Well them and and baby cows.) I mean a 1200 lb organism that can't support its own body weight? I'm drooling at the thought. Plus I bet they're high in Omega 3s. Someone needs to get Michael Pollan in on this movement.
posted by Telf at 9:56 AM on July 21, 2009


They're like nature's veal

Then what's veal?
posted by The World Famous at 9:59 AM on July 21, 2009 [11 favorites]


Very interesting story, very shitty writer.

Oh, the huge manatee!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:00 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Then what's veal?

Not natural, that's for sure.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:01 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't exactly hunger for fried manatee after reading that article, but does anybody whether the idea of farming manatees (as proposed by one of the secret club members in the article) is actually viable? Farming manatees could conceivably make them less endangered, but I could also see it ending with the manatee going extinct. Anybody have some expertise on wildlife management who could shed some light on this?
posted by jonp72 at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2009


SAVE THE SECRET MANATEE!
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on July 21, 2009


Well, the argument presented by the poachers isn't quite as insane as the story makes it out to be. Property rights in African elephants appear to have been more effective in increasing populations than total hunting bans. The property right gives the owner an incentive to encourage sustainable management of the elephant population in order to maintain a steady revenue stream. Without the ability to make money from the sales of hunting permits, people living near the elephants have a greater incentive to cooperate with poachers than with the government. This is especially true if their income is otherwise derived from farming, which elephants are generally bad for.

Ethically it's a cold utilitarian calculation, but I'm okay with that because the alternative appears to be extinction (cf the West African Black Rhinoceros). If, someday, the elephant habitat countries are well developed enough economically and governmentally to have an effective outright ban, that's fine. Until then, sustainable management is the way to go.

For another example of this kind of thing, look at white-tailed deer. In the 1930s there were only about 300,000 left in America. Largely thanks to properly regulated hunting there are over 30,000,000 now.
posted by jedicus at 10:12 AM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


If God didn't want us to eat meat, he wouldn't have made it so damn tasty.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Science reveals: He didn't.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:12 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


This story reads like total bullshit.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:14 AM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wonder what Carmine Sabatini has to say about this.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:15 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


As if my morning hadn't been weird enough already, I come to MeFi and the first thing I see is "secret manatee eating clubs."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:16 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


but does anybody whether the idea of farming manatees (as proposed by one of the secret club members in the article) is actually viable?

The farming of manatees in the brackish low water flow aquatic systems in which they live in numbers that are above their "natural" populations would have impacts on most other organisms in the environment, mostly due to the increase of animal waste in the system. It could be done, but farming at the numbers needed to keep the environmental pollution limited, or the use of closed systems for farming would most likely make it economically unsound. But this is Florida, so who knows?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:19 AM on July 21, 2009


This is just to say

I have eaten
the manatees
that were in
the ocean

and which
you were probably
saving
from extinction

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so mana-tasty
posted by mattdidthat at 10:20 AM on July 21, 2009 [64 favorites]


I would point out it's from 2003. Still interesting though. I'd never heard of this story.
posted by Liver at 10:22 AM on July 21, 2009


Science reveals: He didn't.

Cite please.

(Note: I don't actually think God created Manatees to be delicious and to be eaten. But I am curious to see what scientific discovery you are referring to, specifically.)
posted by The World Famous at 10:23 AM on July 21, 2009


For another example of this kind of thing, look at white-tailed deer. In the 1930s there were only about 300,000 left in America.

Another analogy between white-tailed deer and the manatee is that both animals are in danger from vehicle collisions (deer hit by cars, manatee hit by motorboats), at a rate equal to or greater than the possibility that they might be killed by hunters. If manatee has to die of non-natural causes, isn't it better that it feeds somebody, rather than simply lie there because it was hit by a motorboat? I can't say that I'm an expert on Florida manatees, but I've spent enough time dodging white-tailed deer on Pennsylvania roads to know that vehicle collisions can be as much of a problem for animals as hunters.
posted by jonp72 at 10:24 AM on July 21, 2009


An Orlando Weekly reporter investigates the existence of secret manatee eating clubs in Florida.

Did... did the secret manatees eat him?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:26 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


Farming manatees could conceivably make them less endangered, but I could also see it ending with the manatee going extinct. Anybody have some expertise on wildlife management who could shed some light on this?

On preview kuujjuarapik knows a lot more about manatees and ecological considerations than I, but anyhoo: Ducks Unlimited has done a lot to preserve wetlands basically so that their members can still have ducks to hunt. It's obviously not a perfect corollary, but a 'Manatees Unlimited' run right could go a long way towards keeping the species viable. Initially the revival of the bison wasn't a result of commercial interests, but bison ranching certainly hasn't done any harm - in fact, they have to organize culls in some areas.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:30 AM on July 21, 2009


"Secret Muslim Manatees" is my new band name.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:32 AM on July 21, 2009


No one else here has bothered to search the Orlando Weekly's site for other manatee references, because if they did they'd notice that the article's writer declared it a was a joke on 6/5/2003, only a couple week's after the article's initial publication.
posted by mikeh at 10:33 AM on July 21, 2009 [26 favorites]


I'm hoping that when civilization collapses, vegetarians like me will get to eat people like this.
posted by grobstein at 10:33 AM on July 21, 2009


Well shit.
posted by grobstein at 10:34 AM on July 21, 2009


Aw, man.



Atee.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:35 AM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


They're like nature's veal

I dunno, "I'm here all week—try the manatee!" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
posted by jamaro at 10:36 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If God didn't want us to drink antifreeze, he wouldn't have made it so damn tasty.

Actually, I'm not sure that's airtight reasoning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:41 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


The first rule of secret manatee eating club is you do NOT talk about secret manatee eating club.

On preview...Hahaha! It's just a joke. OM just a NOM little satire NOM NOM nothing to see NOM here.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Manatee, oh manatee,
My bovine beauty of the sea
Oh won't you come and marry me?
My warm and flaccid manatee.
posted by benzenedream at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well shit. Looks like A Terrible Llama called it.

What am I going to do now this this desire to eat manatees has been introduced into my consciousness? It's a hunger that I never knew I even suffered from until today.

Who wants to start a secret, manatee-eating club?
posted by Telf at 10:44 AM on July 21, 2009


The article has backfired, because now I'm curious.
posted by echo target at 10:44 AM on July 21, 2009


My hatred for the garden-variety redneck retard goes up more each day.
posted by kldickson at 10:45 AM on July 21, 2009


Even if he's made up, kldickson?
posted by echo target at 10:46 AM on July 21, 2009


Wabbit season! Manatee season! Wabbit season! Manatee season!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2009


Jack: Well, if you want a good "lizz," read this - a list I made in the fifth grade of things I wanted to have done before I turned fifty. "Live in a house with stairs, beat up a Russian, hit mom with a car..." I wonder what that ten-year-old would think if he could see himself now. "Fly on a plane?" I've flown on Air Force One. "Go to Disneyland?" Lemon, I've held Walt Disney's frozen head in my hands.

Liz: That's... awesome.

Jack: I've hunted the world's most dangerous game: man. *COUGH* - excuse me, manatee. I once, uh, shot a manatee.

Liz: Well, if that kid could see himself today...he would throw up. There's only one left: "be friends with Batman."

Jack: There's still a couple of hours.
posted by Iridic at 10:57 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even if he's made up, kldickson?

Isn't he usually?
posted by mr_roboto at 10:59 AM on July 21, 2009


I say it's Manatee season, and I say, FIRE!
posted by tommasz at 10:59 AM on July 21, 2009


No one else here has bothered to search the Orlando Weekly's site for other manatee references, because if they did they'd notice that the article's writer declared it a was a joke on 6/5/2003, only a couple week's after the article's initial publication.
posted by mikeh at 10:33 AM on July 21

Uh-huh. That's what they want you to believe!
posted by mek at 11:00 AM on July 21, 2009


posted by Telf Who wants to start a secret, manatee-eating club?

MeFiManaEat
posted by mattdidthat at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2009


Yeah. The Secret Manatees obviously started applying a little heat on this Jeffrey C. Billman pussy, and he crumpled under the pressure. The retracted article is actually just more proof of the conspiracy.
posted by Telf at 11:06 AM on July 21, 2009


secret manatee eating clubs in Florida

Sadly, this article (which I was all ready to prove as bullshit until mikeh's link proved that it's bullshit) was not about what I'd pictured: Manatees with napkins tied around their necks (wearing monocles and top hats!), uttering the secret password and entering an unlicensed, underground eatery, then waiting patiently with knife and fork in hand for their amuse bouche of turtlegrass foam and an entree of algae baked en croute.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:10 AM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Telf, I think you have it wrong--the club made a deal with Billman, granting him full membership in exchange for a retraction. I mean, who could pass up an offer like that?
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:10 AM on July 21, 2009


Turtlegrass foam is sooooooo 2002.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:11 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the mea culpa statement:

I'll leave you with this final point: Treat the media -- all media -- skeptically. If you were fooled by "Doug's" consider it a lesson. The story was full of signposts pointing to its lack of veracity: anonymous sources, vague locations, unknown phone numbers. Even the cover blurb advised caution: "You won't believe what's on the menu in Volusia County." Still, a lot of people took it as fact. Many of them journalists.

I like a prank as much as the next guy, but I hate it when people pull crap like this and then throw it back in the audience's face like that. No, people are not stupid for believing that a badly written but somewhat plausible story printed as fact in a local newspaper was describing events that actually happened. People don't buy a newspaper so that they can read your fictional scenarios populated with caricatures of a social class that you don't like or interact with who act out a strawman version of a political position that you're opposed to. They buy a newspaper so that they can read about what's happening in the world.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:11 AM on July 21, 2009 [13 favorites]


You can really work up a powerful appetite for manatee after a hard day of monkeyfishing.
posted by neroli at 11:12 AM on July 21, 2009


Huh, well it's nice to know that the manatee I adopted as a child may have been someones illegal dinner. But in all seriousness, the writing was terrible....it took some major effort just to get through the story.
posted by TonyDanza at 11:14 AM on July 21, 2009


Thank you burnmp3s for saying that in a more respectful way than I would have.
posted by uaudio at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2009



You all went whole manatee for his story. Now you are going whole manatee for his recantation. Which was issued a full two weeks after the story was published. Heh, heh, heh.
posted by notreally at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2009


This story reads like total bullshit.

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks so. It reads too much like a Stephen Glass piece, with characters that are too wacky and introspective, and a convenient location that doesn't allow for a confirmation of details.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:21 AM on July 21, 2009


posted by burnmp3s I like a prank as much as the next guy, but I hate it when people pull crap like this and then throw it back in the audience's face like that. No, people are not stupid for believing that a badly written but somewhat plausible story printed as fact in a local newspaper was describing events that actually happened. People don't buy a newspaper so that they can read your fictional scenarios populated with caricatures of a social class that you don't like or interact with who act out a strawman version of a political position that you're opposed to. They buy a newspaper so that they can read about what's happening in the world.

Indeed. Newspapers, magazines, television, and websites should never contain anything other than facts and truth so we're never forced to question what we read or be reminded that not everything we read is anything other than the purest truth. See also: Fox News.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:24 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


No one else here has bothered to search the Orlando Weekly's site for other manatee references, because if they did they'd notice that the article's writer declared it a was a joke on 6/5/2003, only a couple week's after the article's initial publication.

Ugh. Fuck you Orlando Weekly.

"Yes the story was fake but look how much we learned about ourselves!"

No. Fuck you. This is not how journalism works.
posted by graventy at 11:31 AM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


MeFiManaEat post: How best to eat Manatee?

I start by licking the alphabet.

posted to MeFiManaEat by CynicalKnight at 4:20 PM on October 20, 2010 [+]
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:36 AM on July 21, 2009


No one else here has bothered to search the Orlando Weekly's site for other manatee references...

Why would anybody? On the scale of "how fucked up is the world?", a small group of manatees is pretty slight and believable. It didn't strike me as so scandalous that it had to be satire. If the story was about the new craze of teenagers having sex with manatees, then I might ask myself if this seems right. If it were about a club of manatees that are getting together a few times a year in a backwoods shack to feast on hillbillies, then I would question it's validity and want to seek out some other sources. But this article left me with no desire to seek additional info or give it another thought. I guess they said it was satire, not good satire.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:40 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crap. "....a small group of PEOPLE GETtiNG TOGETHER TO EAT manatees...."
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:41 AM on July 21, 2009


Hear hear, burnmp3s. My early opinion of the author of this tripe has been reinforced, without exaggeration, a thousand million billion percent!

Also, I wonder if this isn't in fact a Jayson Blair thing. Maybe the guy made up this story out of whole cloth and then, when called on it, invented this, "Haha! 'Twas but a joke!" thing to cover his and the paper's asses. Either that or the writer and the editors thought this was a great idea, to completely undermine whatever credibility they may have had in order to play a mean trick on their audience and then rub their faces in it. If this was the weekly surrealist paper, have at it! But don't publish something you know to be false under the guise of "news" and then hide behind this ridiculous figleaf:
...we're not a daily newspaper. The rules are different here. We do a lot of things a down-the-middle daily would never dream of -- allowing our writers to express an opinion, for example, or allowing them to use satire to make a point.
Or, you know, allowing them to tell bald-faced lies and label them news, and then publicly revel in your deception. You're soooo cutting edge, lying-ass Orlando Weekly! And what a brave, independent justification for the paper's actions–why, we're doing it to make an important point about journalism or manatees or something, don't trouble us for the details–just trust us, it's important! Besides, anyone who mistook this fakery for common inept journalism tinged with classist contempt must be pretty fucking dumb! There were clues all over the place, including the always-literal phrase "you won't believe!" Fuck these smug bastards, I'm canceling my subscription.
posted by Mister_A at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Extinction is often a natural occurrence. I never do really fully grasp the outrage and horror that's offered any time something's about to go extinct. So it goes.
posted by xmutex at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If it were about a club of manatees that are getting together a few times a year in a backwoods shack to feast on hillbillies, then I would question it's validity and want to seek out some other source that would be totally awesome.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2009


This story reads like total bullshit.

Oh, I don't know about that. I've heard of and seen things similar to this among fishermen, mostly incidental sturgeon bycatches that are taken and eaten. Often it was short or reproductively active lobsters or undersized bass. Several times it involved the accidental death of seals by drowning in nets, but they weren't eaten. But there is a sort of secret conspiratorial feel among some commercial fishermen and some recreational that thinks: 'it's dead anyways, might as well eat it'. It isn't a huge leap from that to secretly targeting the prohibited species, especially if enforcement is rarely seen.

It's not hard for me to imagine that if eating of certain animals is acceptable to your culture but prohibited by statute, there would be some that would choose to break the statute.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:51 AM on July 21, 2009


Oh, and:
Extinction is often a natural occurrence.

Not fucking lately.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:52 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


The sly hoax story is a bit of a staple for a lot of alt-weeklies. The Phoenix New Times has a history of doing this too, even after they were bought by the Village Voice. (The last one I remember was the story about Anna Nicole Smith's native American love child.)

It's really a very ugly side of the alt-weeklies. Their whole raison d'être, or so they repeatedly tell us, is to point out and counter the blindness and biases of the mainstream media. They want to provide coverage on local stories that mass media misses. They claim that they want to educate media users so that they're more savvy; so that they read between the lines; so that they try to see the connections between a newspaper's content (or lack thereof) and the advertising that funds that content (or ensures its absence). (And let's not forget that alt-weeklies are even more ad-heavy than the daily newspaper is.)

And then they go and pull this shit, which is basically saying "Hello, dear reader, you're dumb as shit and will believe anything. Here, read this so that we brilliant editorial staff can laugh at you when you send horrified or outraged letters to us. Hoo boy, mail day is going to be a fucking blast this week!" (The Phoenix New Times actually called its readership "gullible, naive dumbfucks" in a blog post. How's that for building a media-savvy readership?)

By running these stupid, juvenile, bogus articles, they don't make their audience more wary -- which is the mealy-mouthed ex post facto excuse they'll give. They prove to the audience that NO media is trustworthy. And then the audience will go back to the daily paper or the nightly news or the 24-hour cable rotation. Because for all of those outlets' faults, at least they don't knowingly, openly play tricks on their audience. And that's what the alt-weeklies don't get -- or some of them don't get, anyway, meaning the ones that are so wrongly convinced that they, and only they, can Fill The Need. They don't get that what it comes down to, with the way news outlets are right now, is that all you can hope for is that they don't outright fucking lie to your face. And that's where the alt-weeklies are biting themselves on their own special little snowflake asses.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:59 AM on July 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


No one else here has bothered to search the Orlando Weekly's site for other manatee references, because if they did they'd notice that the article's writer declared it a was a joke on 6/5/2003...

Now Playing: Monkeyfishing 2 - Deep Blue Screed.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:00 PM on July 21, 2009


I wonder if the writer recently saw The Freshman.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:02 PM on July 21, 2009


Chefs in Montreal are serving seal meat. And seals are just colder more carnivorous manatees.
posted by vespabelle at 12:05 PM on July 21, 2009


Seals are complete bastards and should be gobbled up ASAP.
posted by Mister_A at 12:07 PM on July 21, 2009


And seals are just colder more carnivorous manatees.

Actually, seals are more closely related to dogs and manatees are closer to elephants. Separate evolutionary paths to round brown floatiness.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:16 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, I first thought of that monkeyfishing story when I read the manatee headline. It's pulling at the same heartstrings to try and provoke a response.
posted by graventy at 12:23 PM on July 21, 2009


The law says you can't chase, feed, disturb, ride or poke a manatee.

Riding and poking a manatee just jumped to the top of my list of illegal things to do.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:26 PM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


My bullshit detector was crying like a helpless baby manatee throughout this article. Courageous vegetarian reporter investigating the seedy underside of secret hillbilly manatee feasts? I think not.

That said, I'd be interested in seeing a FPP that had a bunch of these hoax articles all together. If your entire aim is to mock your readership, how much can you really get away with before people catch on?
posted by Diagonalize at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2009


Can these manatees be caught near Monkey Island? 'cause trolling for monkeys and a big juicy manatee steak would totally be the best vacation ever.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:13 PM on July 21, 2009


Ah, well. Serves me right for not reading the comments first.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:15 PM on July 21, 2009


mikeh: "No one else here has bothered to search the Orlando Weekly's site for other manatee references, because if they did they'd notice that the article's writer declared it a was a joke on 6/5/2003, only a couple week's after the article's initial publication."

And so the manatee becomes the Mento.

mattdidthat: "This is just to say
I have eaten
the manatees
that were in
the ocean...
"

Just when I thought I couldn't stomach one more MeFi riff on poor WCW, you went and convinced me otherwise. Well played, sir.

mr_roboto: "Even if he's made up, kldickson?" "Isn't he usually?"

Eh, much easier to kneejerk against a stereotype than to ponder it.

kuujjuarapik: "Actually, seals are more closely related to dogs and manatees are closer to elephants. Separate evolutionary paths to round brown floatiness."

...so... many... jokes... crude joke... overload.... aslraficaddyshackv8nldkfg;stekgpk....
posted by pineapple at 1:23 PM on July 21, 2009


Science reveals: He didn't.

Cite please.

(Note: I don't actually think God created Manatees to be delicious and to be eaten. But I am curious to see what scientific discovery you are referring to, specifically.)



If you aren't joking:

Evolution -- ever hear of it? Manatees, just like every other species, weren't created at all.
posted by defenestration at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2009


Well I for one am going to view this as a call to arms. Sure, it was fake this time, but what about the next? Who is there to think of the animals? Huh? No one. That's who!

Which is why, starting today, I'm going to begin training my manatee attack force. When I'm done they will be lean, er... well... mean fighting machines, anyway. That way, when someone reads this ridiculous article and thinks it's a good idea to try, they'll suddenly discover that a manatee with a background in ju-jitsu and armed with plastic explosives is not the easiest thing to fuck with.

As a side benefit, having an armed manatee army will kind of rule.
posted by quin at 1:30 PM on July 21, 2009


Metafilter: Separate evolutionary paths to round brown floatiness.
posted by benzenedream at 1:53 PM on July 21, 2009


Is this what Hermes means by 'manwich'?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:03 PM on July 21, 2009


If someone asked me whether the story about making UK residents register themselves in not-a-pedophile databases was true versus manatee eating clubs, I would totally have gone with secret manatee eaters. This story is less crazy than a lot of actual news.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on July 21, 2009


Riding and poking a manatee just jumped to the top of my list of illegal things to do.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:26 PM on July 21



Just make sure you've got a good grip on the thing before poking it. You wouldn't think they could buck just looking at em...trust me.
posted by mcrandello at 3:36 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you have not taken the time to read the article that was posted in follow-up to this one, I recommend it:
http://www.orlandoweekly.com/columns/story.asp?id=3096
posted by Maztec at 3:37 PM on July 21, 2009


Too bad this turned out to be fake. I was waiting for the follow-on gourmet dishes, like manatee foie gras. Or better still, artisanal manatee bacon!
posted by Hylas at 3:42 PM on July 21, 2009


I thought people were the other, other white meat.

Mods - Could you please change the title to "The other other other white meat" please?

And they are not endangered, to boot!
posted by Samizdata at 3:46 PM on July 21, 2009


This story reads like total bullshit.

[..........]
Oh, I don't know about that. I've heard of and seen things similar to this among fishermen, mostly incidental sturgeon bycatches that are taken and eaten. Often it was short or reproductively active lobsters or undersized bass. Several times it involved the accidental death of seals by drowning in nets, but they weren't eaten. But there is a sort of secret conspiratorial feel among some commercial fishermen and some recreational that thinks: 'it's dead anyways, might as well eat it'. It isn't a huge leap from that to secretly targeting the prohibited species, especially if enforcement is rarely seen.

It's not hard for me to imagine that if eating of certain animals is acceptable to your culture but prohibited by statute, there would be some that would choose to break the statute.


It wasn't the manatee-eating that rang my alarm bells, it was the big deal cloak and dagger secrecy about this, and that these guys would invite Joe Reporter along for the ride, especially when he couldn't possibly have shown them anything but scorn, given his descriptions of them, and that they'd thought it through to the degree that they wanted to farm the product. And they were each paying $300 a year for this little gourmet club. And that they couldn't agree how it tasted.

I know people who wouldn't think of hitting and killing a deer in a car without tying it up on the roof to take it home to eat, so I guess there's probably all kinds of weird opportunistic eating going on in the world. I just don't think people join formal clubs for it. With dues!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:08 PM on July 21, 2009


Shame it's fake. Lines like the following:

An Orlando Weekly reporter investigates the existence of secret manatee eating clubs in Florida.

Conjured forth this glorious Eyes Wide Shut vision in my head: Intrepid journalist nervously stands in giant wading pool at a dessicated plantation mansion, surrounded by hooded manatees with baroque Venetian masked arranged awkwardly on their brows, covertly munching hors' doeuvres served by on platters by naked women.

When the journo balks at a seaweed salad, he is unmasked, and spanked from the pool with dozens of oleaginous grey flippers.
posted by smoke at 6:16 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


quin: ... they'll suddenly discover that a manatee with a background in ju-jitsu and armed with plastic explosives is not the easiest thing to fuck with....

Hmmm..."Teenage Mutant Ninja Manatees"...I dunno, it lacks a certain something.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:14 PM on July 21, 2009


Hey everybody! Bacon! Ha ha! Did you hear what I said? Bacon!
posted by belvidere at 7:33 PM on July 21, 2009


I know people who wouldn't think of hitting and killing a deer in a car without tying it up on the roof to take it home to eat, so I guess there's probably all kinds of weird opportunistic eating going on in the world.

Seriously. Ok, you jack up the car. I'm going to go get my tire iron from the trunk.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:49 PM on July 21, 2009


Although this story turned out to be a hoax, the related dugong was once heavily hunted for meat (it's still hunted today across much of its range). TS Raffles sent a report to the Royal Society (self link), which mentions that "the flesh of this animal is delicate and juicy, resembling young beef."
posted by Leon at 3:10 AM on July 22, 2009


Manatee from heaven
posted by zippy at 9:21 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


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