Prawn industry: Stop cutting eyes off live prawns.

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Eyestalk ablation is cruel and unnecessary

Urge the Australian prawn industry and QLD’s Minister for agriculture and fisheries to stop the cruel farming practice of cutting eyes off live prawns.

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Eyestalk ablation is cruel and unnecessary

Urge the Australian prawn industry and QLD’s Minister for agriculture and fisheries to stop the cruel farming practice of cutting eyes off live prawns.

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Your representative is:

Australian Prawn Farmers Association, and QLD's Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
Dear Mr Furner and Ms Hooper,
Regards
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Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 10 January 2022

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

Female prawns have their eye stalks cut off — usually without any pain relief. This practice, called ‘eyestalk ablation’ happens in almost all prawn hatcheries around the world, including Australia.

Why does the prawn industry cut prawns’ eyes off? 

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, blinding her and forcing her into rapid sexual maturity. 

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Illustrations of the cruel 'eyestalk ablation' practiced on prawn farms.
Image credit: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations | Shrimp Hatchery Manual

Does this hurt prawns? Science indicates it does hurt – and shockingly, it isn’t necessary 

In the UK, prawns have been recognised as sentient and their capacity to experience feelings and sensations has been acknowledged by law. This decision was based on a recent report commissioned by the UK Government which called for all cephalopod molluscs (such as octopus and squid) and decapod crustaceans (such as crabs, lobsters & shrimps) “be regarded as sentient.

A decade ago, scientists found that prawns who had their eyes cut off became disoriented, flicked their tails (an escape reflex) and rubbed the traumatised area — all behaviours associated with pain.

And this suffering prawns are forced to endure is unnecessary. Research has found that, given the right environment, female prawns will breed without having their eye cut off. Even the Global Seafood Alliance has published research stating ‘eyestalk ablation’ is not necessary – and also leads to prawn offspring being more vulnerable to disease.  

One of Latin America’s largest group of prawn farms, SeaJoy, has already phased out this gruesome procedure, and we must call on Australian prawn farms to do the same. Like all animals who have the ability to think and feel – and therefore suffer – prawns are in need of protection from cruelty across the globe.

How you can help to spare prawns from cruelty: 

  • Tell decision-makers that caring Australians don’t support this horrific treatment of prawns. Send a message to the head of the Australian Prawn Farmers Association and Queensland’s Agriculture and Fisheries Minister using the form below, urging them to end the practice of cutting eyes off prawns.
     
  • Fill your plate with ocean-friendly food. Understanding the reality for marine animals used by the ‘seafood’ industry is motivating more and more caring people the world over to take action – with their forks. By shifting consumer demand to kinder alternatives, we can take the pressure off the food system that led to intensive farming and practices such as ‘eyestalk ablation’. Head to our top picks of sea-inspired dishes for some mouthwatering inspiration. With simple twists on traditional recipes – from fried ‘shrimp’ to ‘fish’ and chips – you can enjoy tasty food that is kinder to animals and the ocean. For more information and a wider range of delicious recipes, order your free Veg Starter Kit today!  

Stop the cruel and unnecessary industry practice of 'eyestalk ablation'.

 people are helping.
Animals Australia
Send an urgent message to stop female prawns suffering on prawn farms.

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Please use the template letter below or feel free to write your own.

Your representative is:

Australian Prawn Farmers Association, and QLD's Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
Dear Mr Furner and Ms Hooper,
Regards
.

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You’re almost ready to help make a difference!

To maximise the impact of your letter, you should send it from your own email account.

    1. Click "Prepare my message now" below.
    2. You will be redirected to your personal email program, where a new email draft will be pre-populated.
    3. You will have the opportunity to edit the email and personalise it to give it more impact if you wish. Otherwise, just press "SEND" through your email program.

That’s it! With those simple steps, you can ensure your voice is heard in the call for valuable, meaningful change. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s call for kindness, now.

You’re ready to take action!

Ready to help us make important, meaningful change? Send your message now and add your voice to the call for kindness.

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