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Peta has taken on a new campaign - to stop seafood such as fish and octopuses being served live in restaurants.

Restaurants in western countries have increasingly started to serve up live animals to diners, but the animal rights group claims they can feel pain just as strongly as mammals.

Watching a live octopus being dismembered in a restaurant kitchen is shocking, but it isn't the only horrifying meal to be served up in the name of gastronomy, read on for our list of some of the worst offenders...

Live octopuses

Octopus has been served alive and moving in New York and California. Photo / Peta
Octopus has been served alive and moving in New York and California. Photo / Peta

Restaurants in California and New York have come under fire recently from animal-rights activists for serving octopus to diners while it is still alive and moving.


A video shot by a Peta member inside one of the restaurants shows a chef slicing up a live octopus.

In many instances, the octopus has a few legs sliced off and is then left, writhing in pain, until another diner orders the leg dish, when some more are removed.

Peta launched the petition earlier this month calling on lawmakers to prohibit restaurants from serving live marine life, alongside a video of an octopus writhing as a chef at T Equals Fish, a Koreatown sushi restaurant in Los Angeles, chops off its tentacles.

The organisation claims that octopuses, which are considered to be among the most intelligent invertebrates, can feel pain in the way that mammals do.

Live octopus is served at about a dozen restaurants in California and New York, according to Peta and is most commonly used in 'sannakji', a dish made up of moving octopus tentacles.

Peta vice president of cruelty investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement: "Octopuses have sophisticated nervous systems that are rich with pain receptors, so they suffer immensely for a diner's fleeting taste experience."

T Equals Fish was not immediately available for comment.

Live frog

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Fish and seafood aren't the only animals to be used in sushi in Japan - frogs are also used in sashimi dishes.


The frogs are raised by a breeder and then shipped live to restaurant kitchens, where they are kept alive until a customer orders the dish.

The chef then stabs, beheads and skins the live frog to serve on ice with soy sauce and a lemon slice.

But a video taken a couple of years ago of a chef preparing the dish at a restaurant in Tokyo appeared to show the animal trying to claw its way off the plate after being dismembered.

Though the frog is killed instantly by the chef's knife, it can still be seen moving its legs and blinking at the camera.

The restaurant in Tokyo's 'Memory Lane' is known for serving unusual dishes such as soft-shelled turtle, pig testicles, snake liquor, grilled salamander, still-beating frog's heart and the live bullfrog sashimi.

Baby rodents

Baby rodents are eaten alive in China. Photo / Getty Images
Baby rodents are eaten alive in China. Photo / Getty Images

In China, there is an infamous delicacy that involves eating newly-born rodents live.

The diner would use a skewer to stab the live rodent and then dip it in boiling oil, before eating it.

Footage shows a little known speciality in Guangdong, south China, that is called 'San Zhi Er', that has been reported as far back as 1949.

The name translates as 'Three squeaks', because of the noises the baby rodents make when eaten alive.

The first squeak is said to come when the animal is stabbed, the second when it is dipped in the oil and the third when it goes into the diner's mouth.

This video, a composite of two separate clips, shows the mice next to a pot of broth in one shot and being dipped into a plate of sauce in the other.

After smothering the still-wriggling creatures in a brown sauce, a diner proceeds to put one in his mouth and appears to chew.

Live prawns

Live prawns are a popular dish in Asian countries like Japan and Vietnam, but they are also served in western nations like Denmark and London, albeit somewhat controversially.

Whether eating the prawn live, dipped in butter or flamed-grilled from a barbecue after being skewered live and placed over the fire wriggling, animal rights campaigners are not impressed.

Footage filmed at the Quan Nuong rooftop grill restaurant in Vietnam shows live prawns wriggling on skewers as they are cooked.

They are shown still green and raw on a plate as the video begins, before being placed on the barbecue where their heads, legs and bodies wiggle madly.

The filmer later wrote online: "It was a bit odd watching them writhe as they cooked but at least we knew they were fresh."

Peta said of the practice: "Sea animals are not merely swimming vegetables, and it's not OK to carve up their bodies as casually as one would a carrot or a rutabaga."

Live fish

Diners sit around a bucket of live fish, picking them out by hand before dropping them into a bowl of sauce. Photo / LiveLeak
Diners sit around a bucket of live fish, picking them out by hand before dropping them into a bowl of sauce. Photo / LiveLeak

Eating live fish is considered to be a delicacy in many parts of eastern Asia.

In one course, diners are advised to down a shot of tiny fish, dousing them in vinegar just beforehand to make them wriggle on the way down to the stomach.

In other cases diners sit around a bucket of live fish, picking them out by hand before dropping them into another bowl of sauce.

After they have been adequately seasoned, the animal is plucked from the bowl with chopsticks and eaten alive.

Another particular food preparation method that has attracted scorn from animal rights campaigners is 'Yin Yang Fish' - also called dead-and-alive fish.

The dish, which originated from Taiwanese cuisine, consists of a deep-fried whole fish, cooked with its head wrapped in a wet cloth in order to keep it breathing.

The fish is then covered in sauce and served live on a plate, while still alive.

This practice, which remains popular in China, has received condemnation from animal rights groups, who claim it inflicts unnecessary suffering on the animal.

A video that shocked animal lovers in recent years showed a fish served on a dinner plate that appeared to come back to life after receiving a shot of alcohol.

This fish appeared to come back to life after receiving a shot of alcohol. Photo / LiveLeak
This fish appeared to come back to life after receiving a shot of alcohol. Photo / LiveLeak

The clip, believed to have been captured in China, shows the carp with large slices cut into its back - but it is unclear as to whether it is currently dead.

It remains very still as one of the diners pours a shot of alcohol into its mouth and suddenly the fish gulps before returning to a vegetative state.

Monkey's brain

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Monkeys are one of the closest species to humans, which is why many find the practice of eating them so hard to stomach.

Monkeys are still eaten in parts of Asia, but there is one infamous dish involving the brain of the animals that continues to shock.

The meal involves the monkey being brought to the table live, before the head is caved in and the diner then eats the brains.

While there are several reports in legend and some researchers have been told eye-witness accounts, there is no footage of the practice happening apart from one picture in a Hong Kong newspaper in 1998.

Drowned bird

The Ortolan. Photo / Getty Images
The Ortolan. Photo / Getty Images

The ortolan is one of France's most charming little birds, but is also the main ingredient in one of the nation's cruelest dishes.

Ortolan hunting has been banned in France since 1999 but it still happens illegally.

The animal is tempted towards poachers and traps by the sound of a female who is trapped in a cage.

They are then kept in dark tiny cages for a month while being fattened up on millet, grapes and figs until they are so bloated they can't move.

Once the ortolan has been fattened to bursting point, it is drowned in Armagnac, before being roasted for eight minutes and served sizzling in its pale yellow fat.

Diners eat the bird in its entirety, starting with either the head or the rear end.

They eat it traditionally, with their head under a napkin, so as to inhale the Armagnac fumes and keep the whole messy ritual hidden from fellow diners.

Legend also has it that you are using the napkin to conceal your greed from God - who surely could not approve of such a brutal custom.

Baby loach fish boiled alive

The Japanese have a dish called Dojo tofu, which is also known as tofu hell.

To make the dish, they boil water in a pan and once it has reached a considerable heat, they put a block of cold tofu in the bottom, immediately followed by a handful of live baby loach fish.

The idea is that the fish will immediately swim down and start to bury themselves in the cold tofu to get away from the boiling water.

But soon, the boiling water also heats up the tofu and the fish are boiled alive inside the flesh.