PETA Aims To Stop Practice Of Serving Live Octopuses, Severing Their Limbs One By One

Video Captured Inside One of Dozens of Restaurant Kitchens Where Animals Are Served While Still Alive

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2016

Contact:
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – In a new PETA video exposé released today in the Los Angeles Times, a chef at Los Angeles restaurant T Equals Fish can be seen pinning an octopus down and cutting off one tentacle at a time as the animal flails and struggles. Each tentacle contains multiple nerves, exposing the octopus to extreme pain and distress. In the video, kitchen staff explain that because one octopus can fulfill multiple orders of “sannakji”—a dish of writhing octopus legs—this one would be kept alive, out of sight of customers, until all the remaining limbs had been severed, one by one, and served to patrons. Then, the chef would stick his finger into the octopus’s mantle and rip out the internal organs, which would cause a slow, painful death.

T Equals Fish is one of a dozen U.S. restaurants—mostly in Los Angeles and New York—where animals are mutilated and served while still alive. PETA is encouraging people to ask their legislators to join the call for a ban on mutilating and serving live animals in restaurants.

“Octopuses have sophisticated nervous systems that are rich with pain receptors, so they suffer immensely for a diner’s fleeting taste experience,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for an end to this disgusting, uncivilized, grossly inhumane, and gruesome practice of hacking up and serving live, sensitive animals.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—has also gathered video footage of other common ways that live animals are prepared, including cutting the tails off shrimp and lobsters and serving them alongside their own writhing bodies. Some restaurants specialize in hot pots, in which octopuses, lobsters, and other animals are slowly steamed to death as they try desperately to escape.

Researchers agree that octopuses are playful, resourceful, smart, and capable of experiencing pain. They have been observed using tools and can change the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings.

Broadcast-quality video footage from PETA’s exposé is available here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind