Sushi restaurant criticized for posting clip of fish butchered alive

In the video, the fish is cut several times, then gutted with a thin metal spike. The fish can still be seen flapping around as it’s being stabbed. The method, if done correctly, is considered to be the most humane way to kill the animal.


NSFW    MANCHESTER, U.K. — A highly-regarded sushi restaurant is being criticized by many online for posting a video to Facebook showing a live turbot fish being butchered by one of its chefs.

The technique being employed by the highly-trained chef involves paralyzing the fish to maintain its quality as food for longer. Umezushi restaurant calls their version a cheat of the traditional Japanese method known as “ikejime” or “pithing.” The first cut disconnects the spine and blood vessels between the body and the brain. With the second cut, the tail is chopped off, allowing blood to drain out. This opens up the fish to then insert a thin metal spike is into its body, which is carefully aimed at piercing the hindbrain of the fish, located just above the eye. This step is the finishing blow, killing the animal.

In the video, the fish can still be seen flapping around as it’s being stabbed, but Umezushi assures users that squirming is just random firing of signals from the nerve system, post-mortem. The restaurant claims the method stops signal transmission to the muscles, delaying rigor mortis from setting in to maintain a soft texture.

Though the method is widely considered to be the fastest, most humane way to kill the fish, many sushi lovers immediately began condemning the restaurant for subjecting them to the video.

Facebook user Annie Carter posted “Will never eat sushi again if this is the way they prepare it and guaranteed not to visit this restaurant!!”

User Tom Booth posted “Guys don’t be showing this - yes the fish is fresh but some people just don’t want to see that.”

And user Wesley Ryan-Nield posted “Found that quite distressing. I love Umezushi, but not sure you should really promote your Facebook in this way?”

Though bothered by the visual, Wesley goes on to say “Excited to visit your restaurant again next Friday! Make sure you have plenty of eel in, *smiley face*.”

The video continues to rack up views, and despite the critical posts, many users have applauded the restaurant for offering a way for people to understand the connection between the living animal and what lands on their dinner plate.
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