Is Eating Caviar Cruel?


Is eating caviar cruel or ethical? Eating caviar is not cruel because fish are not killed for caviar in aquatic farms. Specialists monitor the health of the fish and the conditions where the fish are kept. Fish get proper nutrition and care. Female sturgeons live very long in aquatic farms and produce eggs every two years. 

It is a huge work to grow an adult sturgeon from an egg that is capable of producing caviar. In captivity, the female sturgeon reaches sexual maturity only after 7-11 years. Some manufacturers speed up this process with hormones, but this approach always affects the quality of caviar not in the best way, so conscientious manufacturers do not use such methods. Unlike poaching, legal black caviar is obtained from guaranteed healthy fish that receive proper nutrition and proper care.

In contrast to poaching methods of obtaining eggs, in which the female dies, female sturgeons in the fishery live long and produce eggs every two years. So, eating caviar obtained by poachers or by dishonest manufacturers is unethical and cruel. Eating caviar from trusted manufacturers who do not kill the fish and take proper care of them is ethical. 

Despite all the measures taken, poaching still exists. According to WWF, poachers are especially active before the New Year holidays — more than 80% of all black caviar sold during this period is obtained illegally.

The caviar produced by poachers is of poor quality and does not meet sanitary standards. Caviar is frozen and defrosted, treated with harsh preservatives, stored in unsanitary conditions, mixed with imitation of gelatin or colored caviar of completely different fish species. Such caviar does not just taste different from a quality product, it can be hazardous to health.

Are fish killed for caviar? No, fish are not necessarily killed for caviar. There are two types for extracting caviar. The first one is a “no-kill” method, when the oviducts filled with eggs are cut, the eggs are extracted and the fish remains alive. The second method is the cesarean section when an incision is made in the abdominal cavity, the caviar is removed, then surgical stitches are applied, which also leaves the fish alive. This process is laborious and requires constant rearing of new fish stocks. The third way is the fish-killing used by poachers. 

How is black caviar obtained? The method of “milking” is mainly used for extracting caviar, which involves cutting the oviducts while preserving the life of the fish. A “cesarean section” method is also practiced, but due to its laboriousness, it is not suitable for processing large production batches of fish. The last and most common method is fish killing. It is mostly used by poachers or dishonest manufacturers. Growing sturgeon is always a difficult, labor-intensive process.

Black caviar is not just a unique delicacy that amazes gourmets with its taste. This is a wonderful gift, and a great way to pamper yourself and your family. That is why the method of obtaining this royal delicacy, influencing the quality and taste of black caviar, plays the most important role.

Milking is an innovative method of caviar extraction, in which the fish remains alive and can produce eggs on average 6-8 times more. In the milking method, the fish is subjected to special manipulations (injections of chemicals and hormones), which allows the eggs to be squeezed out of the fish. There are 2 ways of milking black caviar. The first is pumping or squeezing, which takes up to 12 hours. When pumping, the quality of the eggs tends to deteriorate.

The second method is the so-called “cesarean section”, in which an incision is made in the abdominal cavity, the caviar is removed, then surgical stitches are applied. After such an operation, the sturgeons recover rather quickly and again begin to produce eggs.

The fish-killing method is a traditional method of obtaining caviar, which was used by fishermen many centuries ago. Using this technology, when the caviar reaches the correct stage of maturity, the fish is killed and you get fresh and tasty caviar. But is it worth it? Sturgeon fish are in danger and their population decreased by 90% in the last 30 years. This method is definitely cruel and inhumane and should not exist in the 21st century.

The uniqueness of the technology also lies in the fact that hormonal injections are not made here to artificially induce the maturation of eggs. The fish gives caviar once, only after slaughter. Such caviar is prized among gourmets. Before extracting the caviar, the fish is once again checked. They need to make sure that the caviar is ripe and of the desired quality. A small incision is made in the abdomen and the eggs are removed with a probe. If they are less than three millimeters, the fish is released back into the pool.

Live caviar fish from the wintering complex is fed to the slaughterhouse, it is calmed, drained, washed, and gutted after 10 minutes. On the operating table, the caviar (thin bags) with caviar are taken, each is placed in a separate vase and transferred to the caviar shop. The caviar is weighed, sorted by color, size of eggs, the strength of the shells, smell, taste.

How do you get caviar without killing the fish? To get caviar without killing the fish, the milking method is used. It is cruel-free and allows to extract of the caviar without harming the fish. Sturgeons are given a special injection and caviar is squeezed out of them without harm to health. The oviducts filled with eggs are cut, the eggs are extracted and the fish remains alive.

Is Caviar Farming Cruel?

Some people might think that caviar farming is cruel. But is it true? Caviar farming cannot be called cruel because fish are carefully looked after and properly fed there. Fish health and well-being are constantly checked and monitored. Fish are safe from poaching in open waters and can get all the food and nutrients they need.

In contrast to poaching methods of obtaining eggs, in which the female dies, female sturgeons in aquatic farms live long and produce eggs every two years. The conditions in aquatic farms are as close to natural as possible. They do not use hormones or feed containing GMOs, and caviar is obtained using a gentle alternative method that does not lead to the death of fish.

Does Extracting Caviar Kill The Fish? What Happens to Fish After Caviar?

So, does extracting caviar kill the fish? Extracting caviar will only kill the fish if the cesarean method is used when the peritoneum is cut and opened. If the manufacturer uses the humane, cruel-free method of extracting caviar the fish is not killed. 

What happens to fish after caviar? If the fish is killed for caviar, it will be sold for flesh. The fish will be sold to local restaurants or will be taken to the market. If the fish are grown in the aquatic farms, they will remain alive after extracting the caviar and the farmers will continue to look after the fish and feed them. Fish in aquatic farms produce every two years, so the fish will continue living and getting proper nutrition and care. 

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