Over 90% of shrimps and prawns sold in Japan are imported, amounting to about 6 billion shrimps/prawns imported every year . Of those, about 80% come from Asian countries like India, Vietnam, and Indonesia . Almost all of them are farmed, so you can assume that the majority of shrimps/prawns eaten in Japan come from aquaculture farms in Asia.
Compared to nature, shrimp/prawn farm environments are crowded, dirty, and prone to diseases, so the ovaries don’t reach the final maturation stage . To force them to breed nevertheless, it has become common to brutally remove the eyestalks that contain the gonad-inhibiting hormone .
Young female shrimps and prawns get their eyestalks cut off with heated forceps, or get their eyes sliced open with knives and the internal content squeezed out with fingers, all without anesthesia .
In Japan, 3 out of 4 people seem to think that shrimps can’t feel suffering, but it’s been scientifically proven that crustaceans feel pain as well. In Australia, for example, a business that was chopping up lobsters alive was convicted. Shrimps/prawns who get their eyes ablated get disoriented, flick their tails, and rub the injured areas .
This cruel practice has been shown to result in higher likelihood of diseases among the offspring, and it’s been shown that by providing high quality feed, similar egg production can be achieved without eyestalk ablation . This research result received the 2020 Innovation Award by the Global Aquaculture Alliance.
@FAO Aquaculture photo library
EU’s organic label has prohibited such eyestalk ablation since over 10 years ago. The leading farmed shrimp producer in Latin America, SeaJoy, has been breeding shrimps without eyestalk ablation since 2016 by improving the breeding environment . The world’s largest shrimp producer, CP Foods, also announced last year that they developed biotechnological innovation to eliminate eyestalk ablation .
You can print the PDF below at convenience stores (it’s easy;), etc, or we can send you posters (outdoor use possible)!
Please demand aquaculture certification labels to include non-ablation as a criteria in their standards. Please demand this minimum animal welfare standard, which should be a matter of course if you think about it. By not approving such horrific practice, aquaculture certifiers could become a world leader in the industry in which animal welfare is becoming increasingly important.
Please send your opinions to the most common aquaculture certifiers in Japan, ASC and MEL!
If we lower the consumption of farmed shrimps and prawns, there will be less victims who get their eyes taken away. To eliminate the suffering of the annual 6 billion shrimps and prawns and of the mothers giving birth to them, let’s make the choice to leave farmed shrimps and prawns off of our plates.
More details about eyestalk ablation
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