“Live Sushi” and Dead Cows, Pigs & Chickens: Make the Connection

A petition on change.org was brought to Free from Harm’s attention yesterday. It calls for an end to the practice of “live sushi” eating in Japan. Here is the text of the petition:

To: Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America

Today I learned of the barbaric practice taking place in restaurants in Japan. A practice called “Live Sushi,” a ‘delicacy’ that involves eating frogs and other animals, such as fish, while they are still alive and fully conscious. The lower half of their body is severed, skinned and they are served on a plate, with eyes blinking and body twitching and twisting, while they are slowly eaten alive. This barbaric, vulgar and unnecessarily cruel practice is truly a shame on the Japanese people. So we, signers of this petition from around the world, ask respectfully that you ban this practice in Japan.

A quick search reveals that the tradition of live sushi, known as ikizukuri, is indeed still practiced in Japan and other countries, but frogs are not the only victims; the most popular animals have traditionally been fish, octopus, shrimp and lobsters. To prepare live sushi (which is considered controversial even in countries which permit it), a sushi chef removes the selected animal from a tank, guts the animal without killing it, and serves it, still alive and conscious, on a bed of its own chopped up flesh.

The preparation of live sushi is a horrifying sight and a despicable act of cruelty. But the ultimate wrong isn’t something unique to Japan or exotic food fetishes; the fundamental wrong is the infliction of completely unnecessary violence and death on sentient individuals who share in common with us all the desire to be free from fear and pain, and the wish to continue existing. Millions of animals suffer similarly unspeakable horrors every single day on U.S. farms and slaughterhouses — and in slaughterhouses all over the world — for the sake of meat, milk and eggs we have no biological or nutritional need to consume.

The saddest slaughterhouse footage we’ve ever seen shows no blood or slaughter.

Government and public health experts worldwide, including the U.S.’s oldest, largest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition, now recognize that humans have no dietary requirement for animal products:

“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and… appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and for athletes.”

Please learn more about the unnecessary harm and suffering inflicted on animals exploited for meat, dairy and eggs, even on so-called humane farms. And please visit our Why Vegan? page to learn about the connections between animal agriculture, human health, world hunger, environmental destruction, and a horrifying war on wildlife.

(In the mood for something uplifting now? Check out this clip of the world’s happiest cow.)

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About Ashley Capps

Ashley Capps received an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book of poems is Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields. The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she works as a writer, editor and researcher specializing in farmed animal welfare and vegan advocacy. Ashley has written for numerous animal rights organizations, and in addition to her ongoing work for Free from Harm, she is a writer and researcher at A Well-Fed World. For more information on her poetry or advocacy writing, please visit her website. She also runs the vegan facebook page Make Compassion Consistent.

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