This Is Why You Shouldn’t Eat Crayfish!
Crayfish (aka “crawfish” or “crawdads”) are freshwater crustaceans who live on nearly every continent. Sadly, in the U.S., these fascinating animals are caught by the thousands to be killed for food. 😢
When I was growing up in the South, crayfish were on nearly every restaurant menu. But after discovering that they have feelings, I decided it was time to veganize my gumbo and po’ boys—because eating my favorite foods without experiencing the guilt of knowing someone suffered for them hits different.
Here are four of the many reasons why you should respect crayfish as individuals and NOT treat them like seafood:
1. They’re complex, ancient animals.
These neat crustaceans come in a variety of colors—even bright blue or green. They can regenerate their legs or claws if they lose them in a fight with a predator, and they have impeccable eyesight. Ancient crayfish fossils have been found in Australia, and scientists believe the species has existed for more than 115 million years. When left in peace in their natural habitat, they can reach the age of 30!
2. They feel pain.
Just like their lobster cousins, crayfish have a nervous system and suffer when they’re ripped apart. It’s clear that they feel pain—they limp when injured, release adrenaline-like hormones when hurt, and fight to escape being boiled alive. Which leads me to my next point …
3. They’re killed in horrific ways.
Imagine if during your last moments on Earth, you were dropped into boiling water while fully conscious. Unlike many other animals, crustaceans can’t go into shock—meaning they feel every agonizing second of being boiled to death, which takes well over a minute. Just because crayfish can’t scream in agony when they’re scared or in pain doesn’t mean that they’re suffering any less than we would.
4. Eating them can make you sick.
Shellfish poisoning is no joke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the U.S., 80,000 people become ill—and 100 die—after becoming infected with Vibrio, a type of bacteria sometimes found in shellfish. Numerous studies have also found high levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals (including DDT, PCBs, and dioxin, which have been linked to cancer, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage) in fish flesh.
Pro tip: You don’t have to worry about getting sick from eating vegan options.
The best way to help crayfish, lobsters, crabs, and all other animals is to leave them off your plate. Check out these great vegan fish and seafood recipes! And e-mail us at [email protected] for help going vegan!