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Conger Cuddling Contest Cancelled
Status: Real (weird news)
If standing on a wooden platform as people hurl giant dead eels at you is your idea of a good time, then sorry, it's too late. The giant dead eel tossing contest held in the English village of Lyme Regis for the past 30 years has been cancelled. A lone animal-rights activist spoiled everyone's fun by complaining that the contest was disrespectful to the dead eel. It sounds to me like the guy may have been joking. (He sent his complaint via an anonymous email.) But still, the town decided not to use dead eels this year. Instead they used boat dock fenders as surrogate eels. But everyone agreed that it wasn't quite the same. Yahoo News reports:
The practice, known as conger cuddling, is the annual highlight in the small coastal town about 155 miles southwest of London. The object of the game is to knock the opposing team off the platform by swinging a 25-pound eel at them. Crowds have flocked to Lyme Regis since 1974 to watch rival teams of nine men swing the giant conger eel — suspended in the harbor by a rope — and local residents said they are dismayed at the demise of their historic event.
Big Gary, who submitted this story, notes that a) nobody respects traditions anymore, and b) "a conger is a type of eel. The main distinguishing feature of congers is that they have pectoral fins, which are lacking or underdeveloped in most other eels (e.g. morays)."
AnimalsSports
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 31, 2006
I don't understand why they can't make a big rubber version of a conger that would weigh about the same - then they could continue with the competition, the town would get their annual tourist event, tradition would be maintained (of sorts) and no eels hurt in the process. Problem solved!
Posted by Jo  in  Sydney  on  Mon Jul 31, 2006  at  07:50 PM
Well, yeah! But that would make sense....
Posted by thephrog  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  03:26 AM
A whole new type of crazy has just been invented:
LARP Conger Cuddling!!

Grab your latex eel and some friends and get ready to rumble!
Posted by Cthelmax  in  England  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  05:20 AM
I'm sad that the town stopped it without some kind of town consensus or vote; it sounds like they bullied themselves into stopping.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  07:18 AM
Hurt the eel? It's dead I don't suppose more harm can be done.

Anyway it's a publicity shot - which works.
Posted by Peter  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  08:32 AM
I think the height of sensitivity would be to ask the eel what it felt about contributing to the local economy and supporting local tradition.
Posted by mazinga  in  Southeastern Arizona, U.S. of A.  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  12:58 PM
I don't understand why they just can't use babies, there light enough.
Posted by Wendy  in  toronto  on  Tue Aug 01, 2006  at  09:41 PM
Or just dangle some dead guy in the water for the eels to play with while the people play with the dead eel. That way, everything's in balance.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Aug 02, 2006  at  03:06 AM
Yes. Why don't they throw a dead person around? Their excuse about how the eel is dead and it doesn't feel anything doesn't hold water. I mean the dead person can't feel anything either.
Posted by Iron Condor  in  North America  on  Wed Aug 02, 2006  at  12:55 PM
neither can parapalegic's and they always complain about not having anything to do, lets make them useful.
Posted by Wendy  in  toronto  on  Wed Aug 02, 2006  at  01:19 PM
I suppose it would be ethical to use a dead human, provided the person had consented antemortem. I've known several people who bequeathed their bodies to medical schools or biological research-- no doubt there are plenty of people who'd be willing to bequeath their bodies to sport.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Fairfield, Texas  on  Thu Aug 03, 2006  at  01:53 PM
Ye Gods! Next thing you know they'll outlaw the fish-slapping dance.
Posted by Blondin  on  Thu Aug 03, 2006  at  11:47 PM
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