Taken from the Waterbury Republican- American, November 16, 2016 by: Geoffrey Mohan Tribune News Service
Activists want to prohibit live seafood at restaurants
Los Angeles – Writhing octopus, prawns and other seafood have been plated at Los Angeles restaurants for many years. The Japanese and Korean dishes are openly advertised, reviewed by food critics and patrons, and posted on YouTube.
Animal rights activists say it’s time to take the dish off the table.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals this week released video of squirming octopus tentacles and twitching shrimp heads served up at Korean restaurants in Los Angeles and New York.
Live slaughter of seafood appears to fall in a loophold in California law, according to PETA. Animals slaughtered for eating are not covered in the Cruelty to Animals statute, and food regulations allow restaurants to keep live seafood.
PETA activists went to several restaurants in Los Angeles in September and chronicled octopus, lobster and shrimp being served while still moving.
The group hopes consumers will pressure legislators to ban the practice. But the organization hinted it may not stop there. “We’re taking no other options off the table until live animals themselves are taken off the table,” said spokeman Ben Williamson.
At the heart of the compaign is San Nag-jik, a Korean dish of writhing octopus tentacles seasoned with sesame, which is served in more than a half-dozen restaurants in L.A.’s Koreatown.
How much different was it than eating raw oysters, which presumably are alive, Parsons asked.
Robert Elwood, an animal behavior scientist at Queens University, Belfast, who has studied how animals register pain, is convinced that the reactions of decapods such as prawns, shrimp and lobster “fulfill the criteria of pain” as humans know it.
Decapods “show a high motivation to escape noxious stimuli, respond in ways that are conclusively not mere reflexes, have strong physiological stress responses, show symptoms of anxiety after negative treatments, and have long-term memory of negative experiences,” he said in a statement issued by PETA.
An octopus is no different, added Jennifer Mather, a biologist and psychologist at the University of Lethbridge, who has studied the animals’ reaction to negative stimuli. Octopuses learn from their injuries and plan reactions to them, Mather concluded.
“In my professional opinion, an octopus whose arms are cut off is likely experiencing pain and suffering.” Mather said. “This suffering is almost certainly prolonged when the animal is deliberately kept alive until all of the arms have been ordered.”
Octopuses are considered to be quite intelligent, and their seemingly well-thought-out exploits, including complicated escapes, have been chronicled widely.
I would like to comment on this article and the actions of seemingly thoughtless humans who have been conditioned by their upbringings and society to believe that animals do not feel pain and that even the lesser life forms don’t feel pain. Are we that ingorant as humans. I have not done the research that Robert Elwood and Jennifer Mather have but common sense tells me that other animals species move, have their own lives and bleed no matter what color it is therefore they feel pain.
We humans have justified in our minds that it’s okay to do these things to species that cannot fight back or speak to us to say “Ouch that hurts, you’re killing me.” Killing another species for sport is equal to the thoughtless act of eating a animal species alive. Some of us are so weak we think picking on a poor animal this way will make us strong. Some humans have no clue [because of their psychological make up] what it means to be kind. Those of us who choose to eat other animal species can be kind by just humanly slaughtering an animal before eating it. This would be the kindest act, yet we humans would rather be barbarians whose thoughtless acts cause these animal creatures a horrific death. We humans should be ashamed of ourselves and our inabiltiy to figure out how to elevate ourselves to become better humans.