Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies Articles

What Happens in Vegas Should Not Always Stay in Vegas: Activist Strategies

From Annoula Wylderich, Founder, Animal Protection Affiliates

February 2023

The restaurant's gruesome videos revealed conscious mutilated sea life positioned on plates so they could watch themselves being devoured.

lobster otcopus

In the Fall of 2022, a Las Vegas resident notified us (Animal Protection Affiliates, a Vegas-based grassroots organization) of a sashimi eatery that was flagrantly sharing videos of their meal preparations which involved the butchering of live octopus and lobsters.

The gruesome videos further revealed mutilated sea life positioned on plates in a way that they could watch themselves being devoured while still sentient.

This is a niche dining practice, which the majority of folks consider gruesome regardless of their dietary choices. Yet, the videos were being circulated in promoting the establishment.

This is how we proceeded:

  • We filed a complaint with the local animal control agency, providing ample evidence
  • We notified the health department, citing potential health risks
  • We contacted PETA’s CID team to assist us by making inquires and reaching out to the establishment
  • We alerted locals asking them to participate in an action alert
  • We continued communications with the animal control officer and his supervisors, who were perplexed at first as to whether or not this constituted any violations. Regardless, the officer persevered; and with the guidance of the health department and D.A.’s office, determined that an animal cruelty ordinance was, in fact, being violated.

The final outcome of this case included the eatery’s agreement that they would use a different method (pithing) that would prevent much of the suffering. While it’s not clear how that might help the lobsters due to their particular anatomy, it was still considered “the best law enforcement response that has been secured to date regarding Sashimi in the continental U.S.” by PETA’s investigators.

It’s doubtful this outcome would have been achieved without the collaboration of the various agencies and organizations, and we’re grateful to them and the Las Vegas residents who responded in pursuit of this issue.

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