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Restaurants Serving Live, Squirming Octopus Getting Heat From PETA

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Some California restaurants are under fire from PETA over serving the marine delicacy -- octopus -- while it's still alive and moving.

A video shot by a PETA member shows a chef cutting up a live octopus.

PETA wants to ban the consumption of live animals, but it's a big draw for restaurants like Santa Clara's Crab House where a traditional Korean dish featuring live octopus is served.

The assembly member in that district says it's a cultural tradition and he doesn't want to interfere.

Animal rights activists are petitioning California lawmakers to prohibit restaurants from serving live octopus, shrimp and other marine life.

PETA released the petition on Tuesday, along with a video of an octopus writhing as its limbs are severed by a chef at T Equals Fish, a Koreatown sushi restaurant in Los Angeles.

About a dozen restaurants in California and New York serve live octopus, according to PETA. Live octopus is most commonly used in a dish comprised of moving octopus tentacles, called "sannakji," PETA said.

PETA says octopuses, which are considered among the most intelligent invertebrates, are capable of feeling pain just as a pig or rabbit would.

"Octopuses have sophisticated nervous systems that are rich with pain receptors, so they suffer immensely for a diner's fleeting taste experience," PETA vice president of cruelty investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement. "PETA is calling for an end to this disgusting, uncivilized, grossly inhumane, and gruesome practice of hacking up and serving live, sensitive animals."

T Equals Fish could not immediately be reached for comment.

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