Eating animals alive

Inhumane trend/traditional practice of eating animals alive are extremely cruel uncompassionate acts towards these species.

Animals Eaten Alive in Shocking String of Online Videos

Eating live animals is the practice of humans eating animals that are still alive, rather than animals which have been found dead or killed to be eaten. Eating live animals is a traditional practice in many Asian food cultures, but animals are also eaten alive for shock value. Both vertebrates or invertebrate may be eaten.

Eating live animals, or parts of live animals, may be unlawful in certain jurisdictions under animal cruelty laws. Religious prohibitions on the eating of live animals by humans are also present in various world religions.



In Japan, Ikizukuri (“prepared alive”) is the preparation of sashimi (“pierced food”) made from live seafood. The most popular sea animal used in ikizukuri is fish but octopus, shrimp, and lobster may also be used.The fish is typically filleted without being killed and served while the heart is still beating and the mouth opening and closing. Sometimes the fish is temporarily returned to an aquarium to swim around and recover for a second course.[2]

Another fish dish, popular in China, is called Ying Yang fish (also called dead-and-alive fish) in which the fish’s body (but not the head) is rapidly deep-fried and served while the head is still fresh and moving. It is prepared extremely quickly, with care not to damage the internal organs, so that the fish can remain alive for thirty minutes.[2][3]

In an interview, celebrity chef Raymond Blanc stated that in Japan, he had eaten live eels. He was advised to add vinegar and sake, which made them jump around, and then swallowed them whole.[4]


In 2012, a video showing a woman in Japan eating a live frog was posted on YouTube and went viral. In the video, a live frog is seen stabbed alive, stripped of its skin, and its inedible innards removed to be served as fresh sashimi on an iced platter.[5]

In 2007, a newspaper reported that a man from south east China claimed that eating live frogs for a month cured his intestinal problems. He also eats live mice and rats.[6]

Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel‘s Bizarre Foods ate frog sashimi. Though most of the frog is served dead (and raw), the meal begins by eating the frog’s fresh, still-beating heart.[2]


Consuming monkey brain is attributed to the practice of bushmeat consumption in Africa and Asia. However, the controversial consumption of live monkey brain is often attributed to China; the monkey brain is eaten fresh, spooned out of the skull while the monkey is still alive, placed under a specially designed holed table.[7]


San Zhi Er is a Southern Chinese delicacy of eating baby rodents alive. The consumer uses a skewer to stab the live rodent and then dip it in hot boiling oil, before eating it immediately. The name, which translates as “three squeaks”, indicates noises the rodents make during this dining process, i.e. during the stab, the dip in hot oil, and the consumer’s bite.[8]


A man in Odisha, India, is reported to eat live snakes to seek attention from fellow villagers.[9] Eating a beating heart and bile of live snake is practiced in China and other parts of Asia.



In Korea, Sannakji is the preparation of live octopus that has been cut into small pieces or prepared whole, and served with its arms still squirming. Sannakji connoisseurs enjoy more than just the taste of the fresh meat; they enjoy the sensation of the still-active suction cups on the octopus’ arms as they stick to the mouth. Novices are advised to chew before swallowing to avoid the threat of being choked.[2]

Sea urchin

Sea urchins are prized around the world for their fishy-flavoured roe and flesh. They are often eaten raw, such as in sushi (typically called “uni”) and some people prefer to eat them immediately after they are cut open. Scissors are often used to avoid the protective spines whilst cutting the animal open.[2]


In China, one common way that shrimp is prepared to be eaten alive is a dish called drunken shrimp. The shrimp, usually 10 animals per serving, are first doused in a strong liquor which makes them less likely to struggle while being swallowed and also creates a flavourful marinade. A plate is typically held over the bowl to prevent the shrimp from leaping out as they are much more active than when served as Odori ebi (see below).[2][3]

Odori ebi (“dancing shrimp”) is a type of Japanese sashimi that contains young shrimp, usually only one individual per serving. The shrimp has its shell removed and sometimes its head as well. These can be deep fried and served alongside the rest of the shrimp, which is still moving its legs and antennae while being eaten. The shrimp only dies when chewed.[3]


Restaurants in New York City serve live lobster, advertising that they allow customers the opportunity to “pick belly sashimi out of its still moving body”.[10]


Oysters are the most common animal often eaten raw and alive.[2]


A chain of restaurants serves a salad crawling with live ants. The ants are chilled so that they move slower, and are supposed to taste like lemongrass.[3]


Live cockroaches were eaten in a competition in Florida in 2012. The winner collapsed and died from ‘asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents’.[11]


Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains insect larvae.

One example of eating live larvae is the witchetty grub of Australian aboriginal cuisine, which can be eaten alive and raw or cooked.[2]

Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese, notable for containing live insect larvae. It is found almost exclusively in Sardinia, Italy. Casu marzu goes beyond typical fermentation to a stage most would consider decomposition, brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese fly Piophila casei. These larvae are deliberately introduced to the cheese. The cheese received attention on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern described the taste of the cheese as “so ammoniated” that “…it scorches your tongue a bit.” The cheese is known to leave an aftertaste for a duration of up to several hours.Similar milk cheeses notable for containing living insect larvae are produced in several Italian regions


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