Live “Dancing” Shrimp Pulled from Menu

A Sacramento, Calif., restaurant — Nishiki Sushi — recently agreed to remove live shrimp from their menu.  PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) received dozens of complaints from the restaurant’s patrons about the practice of spraying lemon juice on the exposed flesh to make the live shrimp “dance” before consuming them.

In response, PETA contacted the restaurant’s manager, Tony Malpartida, and presented him with a 2007 study from Queen’s University Belfast in Ireland that shows shrimp do indeed feel pain.  Malpartida agreed to take live shrimp off the menu, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Apparently, eating live shrimp is considered a delicacy in Japan. Many people don’t think of seafood as animal flesh — but it is.  Even the tiniest shrimp in the ocean is still a living being.  And it can most certainly feel pain, which is why lemon juice splashed on exposed shrimp flesh will cause it to writhe — what the restaurants call “dancing shrimp.”

Prawns and shrimp are biologically identified as crustaceans, along with crabs, lobsters, crayfish, krill and barnacles.  To compare a crustacean with a mammal, both: 

  • Are born from reproductive process between opposite genders
  • Have a circulatory system with a heart that pumps blood throughout the body
  • Posses a gastric system that enables nutrients to be broken down and an anus for expelling the unused waste products
  • Have a central nervous system including a brain that enables recognition of painful stimuli

The food industry generally recommends shrimp be purchased alive because dead crustaceans spoil very quickly.  
But have you ever wondered how the shrimp on your plate is killed before being served?

Accepted standards require freezing crustaceans for around 15 minutes to stun them before hacking their body in two with a knife and tossing them into a pot of boiling salt water.   The 15 minutes of freezing doesn’t kill them; it simply makes them less able to wriggle and squirm on the cutting board.

Does that sound humane to you?

Humans have an innate ability to justify their actions, good or bad.  On the PETA site Fishing Hurts, Michael Fox, D.V.M, Ph.D., is quoted:

“Even though fish don’t scream [audibly to humans] when they are in pain and anguish, their behavior should be evidence enough of their suffering when they are hooked or netted. They struggle, endeavoring to escape and, by so doing, demonstrate they have a will to survive.”

The next time you go to a restaurant and are tempted to order that shrimp dish — make sure the shrimp can’t dance!


Flickr: Laurel Fan

274 comments

Celia Clarke
Celia Clarke5 months ago

Shannon T YOU ARE WRONG. THE SHRIMPS WERE ACTUALLY ALIVE. THEIR SHELLS HAD BEEN PEELED OFF, JUT BEFORE BEING PUT ON THE PLATE, BUT THEIR BODIES WERE STILL ALIVE BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT BEEN COOKED.

Shannon T.
Shannon T.5 months ago

These shrimp weren't actually alive, they only had receptors/nerves in their body reacting to the acidity of lemon juice. This is literally basic health knowledge, after anything dies the receptors and nerve are still active for some time. It is already brain dead so it wont be feeling anything like "pain" or "anguish" how peta is incorrectly saying they do. It is the same reaction as to how a long dead pair of frog legs wiggle or jolt when you pour salt on them. If any of you actually had the mental capacity to look these facts up rather than letting yourselves be force fed this bullshit, maybe you'd actually be taken seriously instead of seen as brainwashed morons to laugh at in educated individuals spare time.

Carolyn Munro
Carolyn Munro5 years ago

of course whales and other fish eat shrimp and other smaller alive

do you expect them to carry around with them a stove top to cook them?

Nature is nature and no way to educate the whales or prop them up with books. is there?? how silly. But humans are supposed to have a heart and be civilaized and not do those things but do we?

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

Jane R. : Africa is NOT a country. It's a continent. And what remote human flesh eating tribes are you talking about? You have any empiric proof to their existance?

Karilyn K.
Karilyn K.5 years ago

Thanks for the sympathy for shrimp, they are often forgotten

nancy sands
Nancy sands5 years ago

Poor things! The restaurant did the right thing!

Monique Freericks

Thanks to the restaurant.

Jane R.
Jane R.5 years ago

This is so discusting. What is wrong with people? They will torture and eat anything. Maybe we should send them to Africa, where remote tribes still eat human flesh. See if they would like to be tortured & eaten.

Carol Cowbrough
Carol Cowbrough5 years ago

At least the restaurant owner did the right thing.

Theresia K.
Theresia Kuppers5 years ago

WHICH VAMPIRES WERE EATING THOSE SHIMPS ??????