Video of squid prepared alive for sashimi sparks outrage

Ikizukuri, also known as ikezukuri, is the preparation of sashimi made from live seafood. It is controversial due to concerns over the animal's suffering as it is kept alive while its body is being dismembered.

A video demonstration of the practice has gone viral and attracted condemnation of the delicacy.

In the 2-min-long video, the chef is seen skilfully cleaning and slicing its head into pieces while leaving its brain intact.

The pieces are arranged on a plate while the squid is placed in an upright position on the side of the cutting board. The squid can be seen wriggling its legs and moving about.

After preparing the head, the chef moves on to slicing off the squid's legs while it is still alive.The remaining squid, without its head or legs but with its brain intact, is then trashed in the sink.

The viral video, which has been reuploaded several times on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, has upset many viewers who were horrified to see the squid trashing about while the chef sliced off most of its body.

"Have empathy for all the Earth's creatures and kill your food swiftly and humanely because in your next life you might return as one of these lesser beings," wrote Facebook user Tyson Bass.

Echoing his sentiments, Facebook user Cashona Keiko Brewster Pittman commented: "This is so terrible. Why let the creature suffer that way instead of a quick and swift death."

The practice is outlawed in countries such as Australia and Germany. It is unclear where the video is taken, but the signage indicates that it is a Japanese restaurant.

'Dancing squid'

The latest video is eerily similar to a 2011 video demonstration of a live squid preparation for a Japanese dish called odori-don offered by a restaurant in Hokkaido.

Odori-don literally translates to "dancing squid rice bowl".

The video, uploaded onto sites such as Huffington Post, shows a decapitated squid sitting in a bowl of rice along with thinly sliced pieces of its severed head.

Seasoned soy sauce is then poured over the squid to make it move its legs. According to Huffington Post, the squid is then removed from the bowl and the rest of its body cut up to be consumed.

yamadak@sph.com.sg