Video’s creator surprised at “how little people know” about the world they live in.
On 20 May a student specializing in the fishery industry posted a video in which he drives a blade into the torso of a live squid that he had just caught from the ocean. The video came with the caption, “This video shows the ikejime process of preparing a squid. For your information.”
In the video, which can be seen on the creator’s Twitter account, a metal tool is stabbed into the body of the still-living squid, and half of its deep red mantle quickly turns to a pure white color. He then makes a few more stabs causing other sections of the animal to lose its color until the entire squid becomes white.
The young man then says, “Okay, it’s clamped” and the video ends.
Reaction to the video was passionately negative from a rather large segment of the population.
“I feel sad for that squid.”
“What the hell?! You are torturing it.”
“How would you feel if you were the squid!”
“Animal abuse… sad.”
However, as the young man said in his caption, the video is showing an example of an ikejime (sometimes ikijime) which literally translates to “activity clamping.” This is a Japanese technique now employed by anglers all over the world in which a spike pierces the brain of the animal causing death as quickly as possible. Most fish only require a single stab to a particular section of the brain, but squid require more to disable all motor functions.
Though it is considered by some to be the most humane way to kill fish due to its swiftness, the main purpose it to preserve the quality of its meat. When fish experience stress and suffering, their muscles release lactic acid which hurts the taste and texture of the meat. Ikejime is so widespread that there’s even an app for it.
Those more aware of this process defended the video’s creator and lashed out at its critics.
“This isn’t abuse at all. It’s more humane and even makes the meat better tasting.”
“I’m sure not all of these comments are from vegetarians. How do you think you get your meat?”
“If you think this is wrong, then don’t eat squid anymore.”
“The day will come when we hear complaints about eating vegetables by people calling it ‘destruction of nature.'”
Website J-Cast News reached out to the young man who posted the video to ask what he thought about the controversy. Here’s what he had to say:
“This is an ordinary thing among anglers, fishermen, and other experts of the sea. It’s sad that some people see this and think it’s ‘strange’ or ‘pitiful.’
I don’t like people acting like their food comes out of thin air. I want everyone to know what kinds of things people are doing before it reaches their dinner table.”
Regardless of who is right in this matter, the controversy does remind us all to look at how our food is acquired, processed, and handled — not only for ethical reasons but for our own health and safety as well.
Considering what a valuable resource it is, we all really should be more aware of where it comes from and what is being done to it before putting it in our bodies.