Cruel Ways of Eating Animals & Birds by Humans

Maneka Gandhi

(Bihar Times)Last week I wrote about the cruelest foods on the planet. I listed ten but I could add another several hundred.  What is it about humans that we have become so vicious? Not even the most dangerous animal on the planet can be called vicious. The carnivores eat to kill but they do the killing in a swift and merciful way.

We, on the other hand, prize that dead flesh which has been made in the most terrible way possible.

Here are another ten examples :

1. A small live turtle is covered with seasoning and herbs while a pan of water is heated. As the water begins to warm, the turtle is then put into the water. The turtle will actually begin to drink the water as it gasps and struggles and its body begins to be cooked by the hot liquid. The cook allows the turtle to remain alive in the herb soup in order to create a good flavour.

2. In Bengal and Kerala, a turtle is placed upside down at the butchers. Customers indicate which limb they want and that limb is sawn off and given to them. The turtle takes hours to die because it is kept alive to show that it is fresh. In Kerala, its belly is cut open. As the blood bubbles up, small tumblers are dipped in it and given to customers to drink or cook in.

3. This seafood dish is not only raw, but served while the shrimps are still alive. First, a cup of Brandy, Whiskey or Vodka is poured onto the live Shrimps. Then they are eaten live. This practice is not just limited to shrimps. In Korea, san-nak-ji or live baby octopus is served still wriggling on the plate – the key is to chew it thoroughly before swallowing so that the tentacles don’t latch onto your throat while it goes down.

4. India supplies 98% of the world’s shark fins. The demand for shark fin, especially in China, has increased to the point where all sharks are now endangered species.  The practice of “shark finning” is not regulated in India. Live sharks are captured at sea, their fins are cut off, and the sharks are thrown back into the water where they thrash about till they die of blood loss and being unable to swim.

5. Baby mice wine is a traditional Chinese and Korean "health tonic”. Little mice, eyes still closed, are stuffed while still alive into a bottle of rice wine. They are left to ferment and the wine is drunk. India has its own version with the Rajasthani royal families making a drink called Asha in which baby pigeons were stuffed into the wine and left to ferment. In Oaxaca, tequila and another drink called Mezcal are sold “con gusano” which means with a live worm put into the drink while bottling. That started in the 1940s as a marketing gimmick for those that wanted to drink low class liquor. It is the caterpillar of the moth Hypopta agavis, which lives on the agave plant.

6. Want to have an egg and a chicken together? Balut is a duck egg that is boiled and eaten in the shell with the foetus inside. It is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as snacks along with beer. The duck or chicken is allowed to grow in the shell for 17-21 days till it turns into a live bird with feathers. A few days before it is going to hatch, the egg is boiled or opened raw. In the Philippines, balut eaters prefer salt, chili, garlic and vinegar to season their eggs. The broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled, and the yolk and young chick inside can be eaten. In Cambodia, balut are eaten while still warm in the shell and are served with nothing more than a little garnish, which is usually a mixture of lime juice and ground pepper. The bones give the eggs a uniquely crunchy texture. In China it is called Maodan or Feathered Egg or  huózhūzi meaning literally "living bead". Chinese traders brought the idea of eating duck egg foetuses to the Philippines – with the bill, bones and feathers intact. First tap the pointy tip of the egg’s shell and make an opening large enough only for the amniotic fluid  to trickle into the mouth. Then remove the shell and season it with salt. The albumen or whites is covered by a sprawl of blood vessels, deeply etched all over the egg. There are knots of unidentifiable nerves and fibrous tissue. Now, either wolf down the egg in two bites so as not to see the foetus or nibble it section by section taking time over the bones of the formed little baby.

7. Over twenty million calves are reared for veal every year. Male calves are taken from their mothers shortly after birth. Some are slaughtered soon after birth for "bob veal." The others are put into individual wooden crates shortly after they are born and their necks chained to a pole They can't move or turn around or stretch or lie down. The crate does its job of atrophying the calves' muscles putting the animal in constant agony from swollen joints but producing tender "gourmet" veal. They are fed milk substitutes, with no iron or minerals . They are killed before they are six months old. The idea is to make them anaemic so that the meat is light pink and very tender. In fact the lighter the meat , the more expensive it is. The lighter the meat, the more torture the calf has been through.  For their meat to qualify as veal, they must weigh less than 396 pounds. Craving iron, the calves lick urine-saturated slats and any metallic parts of their stalls. Farmers also withhold water from the animals, who, always thirsty, are driven to drink a large quantity of the high-fat liquid feed. Because of such extremely unhealthy living conditions and restricted diets, calves are susceptible to a long list of diseases, including chronic pneumonia and "scours," or constant diarrhoea. Consequently, they must be given massive doses of antibiotics and other drugs just to keep them alive. The calves often suffer from wounds caused by the constant rubbing against the crates. During their brief lives, they have never seen the sun or touched ground. They live in darkness, pain and hunger. Their muscles ache for freedom and exercise. After enduring 12 to 23 weeks in these conditions, these young animals are thrown into trucks for transport to the slaughterhouse, trampling each other and suffering from temperature extremes, lack of food, water, and veterinary care.

8. In the Middle East a very pregnant female goat is butchered and thrown onto a charcoal fire to burn until it turns a golden brown colour. The cook will then cut through its abdomen to take out the unborn lamb from inside its mother’s body which is the purpose of the dish.

9. Caviar are the salted eggs of a female pregnant sturgeon fish. The most expensive is Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga which is made by catching wild sturgeons from the Caspian Sea , cutting their stomachs open , taking the eggs out and then throwing them back into the sea to die. The fishermen do not have space on their boats for eggs and fish and no one eats sturgeon, so this is considered the most economical way of getting the eggs. Since wild sturgeon have become very rare now, common caviar is now made of the eggs of  turbot, bowfin, paddlefish, whitefish and salmon. Female sturgeons deposit millions of unfertilized eggs in shallow creeks. The male comes later and fertilizes them with his semen. These could be gathered before being fertilized and sold as caviar unfortunately, caviar producers find it easier to kill and harvest eggs from female sturgeon, or stun them, remove the eggs and suture the sturgeon back up again. The Beluga fish takes over 20 years to mature and could live to 80 years old. It is now on the verge of extinction. Now captive bred caviar is produced – rearing the fish is small closed ponds and slitting them after they become pregnant.  Or, chasing species like the smooth lumpfish, which travel great distances in order to spawn in shallow waters, and killing them there.

10. The lobster is cooked in the West by putting into a cold pot of water which is then gradually heated.  It turns red from pain and throughout the process you will hear the agonised sea creature knocking on the metal pot begging for mercy. They are then taken out of the pot, split and scooped into. Many lobsters are sliced straight down the middle and grilled while still moving.

Do you think chickens, cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats suffer any less?

All you can do is to hope never to be reborn as an animal.

To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in


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