The Guy Who Eats Live Animals Isn’t as Cruel as You Think

Despite eating creepy crawlers on camera, Louis Cole insists there’s a reason behind the madness

Yes, Louis Cole makes his living by eating spiders, lizards, and crayfish — while they're still alive — but it’s not what you think. The Guardian explored a new side of the food stuntman to realize something unexpected — there’s purpose behind it.

Cole, who recently hit 1 million views on his YouTube channel with his bizarre eating tactics, came from a philanthropic background before making enough money from his videos. Despite the vindications of him from PETA and RSPCA, who call his antics "gratuitously cruel," he insists he’s not — in fact, he tries to kill each animal within five seconds of eating them. And he draws the line at live mammals. What should be getting attention, he said to The Guardian, is world poverty.

Plus, he said, people from other cultures don’t find his videos as repulsive — people’s disgust comes from an ignorance of other food cultures. Said Cole, "I've been to lots of developing countries; in South Africa we were in a food market in one of the townships and they were selling cooked sheep's heads. People were cracking them open and eating the brains the way you or I would eat a kebab."

Though he admitted it was mostly a stunt to gain publicity, he’s holding out for some sort of message — though he’s not sure what. He said, "At the moment, I'm not saying anything particularly productive with this channel, but it'll be interesting to see where this goes and whether I'm a voice that can be heard."

Is Cole as bad as PETA and other animal cruelty organizations insist? Or is he simply taking one step less in the food supply chain? Share your thoughts below.