Act Now: Shrimps’ Eyes Cut Off and Worse

Shrimp, the most farmed animals globally, endure horrific suffering in the name of food production. With an estimated 440 billion shrimp farmed and killed annually, nearly half perish before reaching slaughter age due to deplorable living conditions. Mercy For Animals is championing a crucial campaign to urge Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, to abolish the cruel practice of eyestalk ablation and adopt humane methods like electrical stunning before slaughter. Despite the UK’s 2022 Animal Welfare Sentience Act recognizing shrimp as sentient beings, the industry continues to subject female shrimp to barbaric eyestalk ablation, a practice that significantly harms their health and well-being. By advocating for these changes, Mercy For Animals aims to set a new standard for shrimp welfare, potentially improving the lives of billions of shrimp each year. Join the movement to end this cruelty and push for more humane treatment in the shrimp farming industry

Shrimp, ‌the world’s most farmed animals, endure ‌unimaginable suffering in the name of ‌food production. An alarming estimate suggests that around 440 ⁤billion⁤ shrimp ⁢are farmed and killed annually, with approximately half dying before they even reach slaughter age due to deplorable living conditions. Mercy For Animals is spearheading a ‌campaign to address these cruelties by ⁢urging Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, to eliminate the‍ practice of eyestalk ablation⁤ and to⁢ adopt more‍ humane methods of stunning shrimp‍ before slaughter. These changes could ‍significantly‌ improve the welfare of the five billion ​shrimp Tesco sources each year.

Despite the UK’s 2022‌ Animal Welfare Sentience Act recognizing shrimp as⁤ sentient beings, ⁢the industry continues to subject female shrimp to⁤ the barbaric practice ⁢of eyestalk ablation. This​ involves the ⁣removal of one or‌ both eyestalks, ⁤often through methods such as pinching, burning, or tying off the eyestalks ⁢until they fall off. ‌The industry justifies this⁢ practice by claiming it accelerates maturation and increases egg production, yet research indicates it negatively impacts shrimp health, growth, and egg quality, while also raising ‍mortality ‍rates and causing significant ‌stress and weight loss.

Mercy For Animals is also advocating for the‍ transition ⁢from ice slurry to electrical stunning, a more humane method that could drastically reduce the suffering ‍experienced by shrimp during slaughter. By pushing for ⁣these changes, the ‌organization aims to set‍ a precedent for improved welfare standards in the global shrimp-farming industry.

Shrimp are the world’s most-farmed animals—and they suffer terribly. An estimated 440 billion shrimp are farmed and killed each year for human food. Raised in horrendous conditions, around 50% die before reaching slaughter age.

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Mercy For Animals is taking a stand for shrimp by calling on Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, to ban cruel eyestalk ablation and transition from ice slurry to electrical stunning. These changes would have a massive impact on the five billion shrimp Tesco sources each year.

Eyestalk Ablation

Act Now: Shrimps' Eyes Cut Off and Worse July 2024
Credit Seb Alex _ We Animals Media

The UK’s 2022 Animal Welfare Sentience Act recognizes shrimp as sentient beings, yet the vast majority of female shrimp still endure a gruesome practice known as eyestalk ablation. Eyestalk ablation is the removal of one or both of a shrimp’s eyestalks, the antenna-like shafts that support the animal’s eyes. The horrific act usually involves one of these methods:

  • Pinching and squeezing the eyestalk
  • Using heated forceps to burn off the eyestalk
  • Tying a thread or wire around the eyestalk to limit the blood supply until the stalk falls off

A shrimp’s eyestalks contain glands that produce hormones that influence reproduction. The industry claims that removing a female shrimp’s eyestalk makes her mature faster and release more eggs. Despite research showing that ablation negatively impacts their growth, lowers egg quality, and even raises mortality rates, this cruel practice is standard for hundreds of millions of mother shrimp in the global shrimp-farming industry. It can also cause stress and weight loss and may even make the shrimp’s offspring more vulnerable to diseases.

Electrical Stunning

Act Now: Shrimps' Eyes Cut Off and Worse July 2024Act Now: Shrimps' Eyes Cut Off and Worse July 2024
Credit: Shatabdi Chakrabarti _ We Animals Media

Currently, most shrimp raised for food are killed through brutal methods, like suffocation or crushing, all while fully conscious and able to feel pain. Electrical stunning renders shrimp unconscious before slaughter, helping lessen their suffering.

Take Action

Several countries, such as the UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Norway, recognize shrimp as sentient and grant them some protections under the law. And recently, Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, published the first shrimp welfare policy from a mainstream retailer.

Shrimp deserve a kinder future. Join us in urging Tesco to ban eyestalk ablation and ice slurry in their shrimp supply chain by visiting StopTescoCruelty.org.

Cover Photo Credit: Shatabdi Chakrabarti _ We Animals Media

Notice: This content was initially published on MercyForAnimals.org and may not necessarily reflect the views of the Humane Foundation.

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