More Animals That Deserve To Be Eaten

Slate's Culture Blog
March 17 2011 4:57 PM

More Animals That Deserve To Be Eaten

My essay on killing-and-grilling invasive lionfish posted Wednesday seems to have inspired a lot of justified bloodlust and, for a few readers, a further question: What other invasive species should we eat to extinction?

It turns out that invasiovorism is a good idea outside of the Florida reef. No one is cooking the tiny, polluted zebra or quagga mussels ("Most clams and mussels are edible, but that does not mean they taste good!," warns the USGS ). But Asian carp, the scourge of the upper Midwest, is considered quite edible by Chinese and Polish immigrants there (carp is a traditional Polish Christmas dish ).

The possibilities are limitless: Some enterprising foodie from the Everglades, perhaps? recently posted on Chowhound looking for python recipes . Even in cases where you can't eat the invader, there are other uses. In Louisiana, biologists are pushing for the adoption of what writer Barry Yeoman calls "righteous fur" : pelts made from Nutria, a type of invasive swamp rat.

Maybe we should stay focused on annihilating invasive sea creatures, though. The U.N. reported in February that global fish consumption has reached a new high, accounting now for 16 percent of all the animal protein people eat. Yes, as many commenters pointed out, individual lionfish may be too small to motivate commercial fisherman. But I have faith in humanity's ability to eat any animal to oblivion, if we set our minds to it. After all, we are, as Time 's Bryan Walsh put it , the "ultimate invasive species."

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Suggest other edible invasive species to @thornburgh on Twitter.

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Photograph of Nutria courtes y of Petar Miloševic/Wikipedia .

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