World’s First Shrimp Welfare Demo Just Took Place in London

On May 30, Mercy For Animals held the world’s very first demonstration for shrimp welfare! For an hour and a half, over 70 compassionate volunteers and Mercy For Animals staff gathered outside a centrally located Tesco demanding that the company improve conditions for shrimp in its supply chain.

Mercy For Animals and our supporters are calling on Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, to ban cruel eyestalk ablation and transition from ice slurry to electrical stunning. These changes would have a massive impact on the five billion shrimp Tesco sources each year.

Eyestalk ablation is the removal of one or both of a shrimp’s eyestalks, the antenna-like shafts that support the animal’s eyes. The industry claims that removing a female shrimp’s eyestalk makes her mature faster and release more eggs, despite research showing that ablation negatively impacts shrimps’ growth, lowers egg quality, and even raises mortality rates.

Currently, most shrimp raised for food are killed through brutal methods, like suffocation or crushing in ice slurry, all while fully conscious and able to feel pain. Electrical stunning renders shrimp unconscious before slaughter, helping lessen their suffering.

Despite the busy area, volunteers were able to engage with passersby and hold meaningful conversations around the suffering shrimp endure. We distributed nearly 1,000 flyers, and our volunteers broke out into impromptu chants, including “Tesco, leave animals’ eyes on their heads” and “Stop suffocating animals to death!”

Some shoppers and passersby were surprised at the size of the demonstration, while others eagerly expressed their support. Drivers in vehicles and passengers in buses saw us, and several responded with positive horn beeps. The manager of the store expressed his thanks for our peaceful methods of raising awareness. 

This was Mercy For Animals’ first demonstration in Europe—and we were very proud to host the world’s first demonstration for shrimp welfare! 

Shrimp deserve a kinder future. Join us in urging Tesco to ban eyestalk ablation and ice slurry in their shrimp supply chain by visiting