SaveToby.com

Silly story about SaveToby.com. The author claims that he will eat Toby, a little bunny, unless people chip in $50,000 by June 30, 2005. This threat isn’t all that weird, and it’s not even all that original. What’s weird that some people are upset about this—why? Because the author is going to eat rabbit? Because he has identified a specific rabbit he wants to eat and that he has a name for it? Because he wants to be paid not to eat the named rabbit? (This is just the Coase Theorem in action—we can pay him to not engage in actions that create negative utility for us).

The “joke,” of course, is that people eat rabbits and other livestock every day. Most of the time, the meat is delivered in plastic-wrapped packages or doused in some sauce—in each case, as anonymized and depersonalized food, not as the remains of an animal with a name and cute picture on the website. So any meat-eater who is upset by SaveToby.com should consider exactly how these situations are different.

Meanwhile, I’m making a promise/threat of my own. Pay me $50,000 or I will go to McDonald’s and order a Big Mac made from Bessie.

Thanks to Steve Middlebrook for the reference.

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