Prawn industry: Stop cutting eyes off live prawns.

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Female prawns are having their eyes sliced open and cut off.

Send a message to the head of the Australian Prawn Farmers Association and tell them to stop cutting eyes off live prawns.

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Female prawns are having their eyes sliced open and cut off.

Send a message to the head of the Australian Prawn Farmers Association and tell them to stop cutting eyes off live prawns.

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Australian Prawn Farmers Association
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Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 10 January 2022

Prawn farms are performing a cruel procedure on live prawns to make them breed faster.

Female prawns have their eye sliced open and squeezed out, or cut off with a heated blade — usually without any pain relief. This practice, called ‘eyestalk ablation’ happens in almost all prawn hatcheries around the world — including Australia.

A female prawn has a hormonal gland behind her eye that moderates reproduction, only allowing her to breed when conditions are suitable. The stressful and crowded conditions on farms can make prawns reluctant to reproduce. By cutting her eye, prawn farmers destroy the gland, forcing her into rapid sexual maturity.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Illustrations of prawn's eyestalk ablation
(Image credit: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations | Shrimp Hatchery Manual)

Scientists have found that prawns who have their eyes sliced open or cut off become disoriented, flick their tails (an escape reflex) and rub the traumatised area — all behaviours associated with pain.

Research has found that, given the right environment, female prawns will breed without having their eye cut off. One of Latin America’s largest group of prawn farms, SeaJoy, has already phased out this gruesome procedure.

If you believe that all animals deserve compassion, make sure the prawn industry knows caring Australians don’t support this cruelty. Send a message to the head of the Australian Prawn Farmers Association and tell them to stop cutting eyes off prawns.