Toronto live octopus

PETA complains about squirming octopus served at Toronto restaurants

Animal rights activists are speaking out this week against two GTA restaurants for allegedly "mutilating and serving live animals."

Marado Sushi in Thornhill and Gal's Sushi in Markham both feature a Korean octopus dish called sannakji on their menus.

You've likely seen video footage of this unique dish in action (and I do mean action) online at some point. If you haven't, here's one that PETA sent out with a press release on Monday morning.

"A new PETA video exposé shows a live octopus at Toronto restaurant Marado Sushi being pulled from a tank, flung onto a cutting board, and crudely hacked apart as the animal flails and struggles," reads the press release.

"Only after chopping off each of the octopus's tentacles—an act equivalent to chopping off a human being's limbs—does the chef dice up the animal's mantle, causing a slow, painful death," it continues.

"The squirming tentacles—whose multiple nerve endings cause the animal to continue writhing—are then served to patrons."

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After a complaint from PETA, the Ontario SPCA notified Marado Sushi that the province's cruelty-to-animals laws protect octopuses.

The restaurant still serves sannakji, which is legal in Canada, but now decapitates the animals first.

PETA says that this still "likely causes immense suffering" as chopping off an octopus' head "does little to destroy the animal's brain and organs."

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The animal rights group has also requested an investigation into Gal's Sushi and "a handful of restaurants in Toronto" that treat animals in a manner it considers unethical.

"With their sophisticated nervous systems, octopuses feel every cut of the chef's blade as they're hacked apart a diner's fleeting taste experience," said  PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch in the release. 

"PETA wants this grossly inhumane practice of butchering and serving up live, writhing, sensitive animals to stop."

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Four other Toronto restaurants, which are not named, are accused by PETA of preparing "live shrimp and lobsters by cutting their tails off and serving them 'sashimi style' right next to their mutilated but still-living bodies, for the patrons' amusement."

One of the images featured in the organization's press materials can be sourced back to an online review of Hibiki Japanese Cuisine in Markham, though it's not identified in specifically in PETA's press materials. 

Lead photo by

@mpower1226


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