Online footage capturing the moment a crayfish fled for its life from a boiling hotpot by severing its own claw has made the plucky crustacean the hottest creature on Chinese social media.
In the video, the crayfish is seen dragging its claws out of the pot of spicy soup after being dropped in, struggling to escape from certain death.
However, the crayfish defies its fate as a dinner dish and suddenly clips off one of its claws. Crayfish 1: Hungry Humans 0.
The video quickly spread across social media platforms, with thousands of people touched by its lust for life.
@JiuKe, the Tik Tok user who filmed the clip, was so impressed that he let the crayfish live and adopted it as a pet.
Crayfish usually have a life cycle of three to eight years, and can regenerate their limbs and claws.
The clip however went on to strike a more serious note, with some animal rights organizations criticizing the video.
A Weibo account representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia reposted the video and called on people to stop injuring creatures.
“Though the crayfish cannot make a sound when it is in pain, it doesn’t mean it feels less pain than humans. Crayfish also have a neural system, which means they can sense pain, producing a hormone similar to human adrenaline,” wrote PETA in its Weibo post.
Netizens reacted to PETA Asia’s call for greater protection of animals by criticizing the uploaders for animal abuse.
“Eat! Don’t abuse it,” @Daoweichepingren commented below PETA’s post.
“What’s wrong with humans? What we are driven by is a desire for good food, but what the crayfish pursues is the chance to live,” posted @pkwoon.
Netizens on Facebook also responded to the video, many of whom condemned it as a cruel act after the BBC posted the video.
“There is no other species [more] cruel than human kind,” commented @Ophelia Shura Nicholas.
“I love to eat crayfish, but this honestly is cruel. To film a living thing trying to escape a boiling soup and then remove a limb to survive,” said @Um Musti.
Brought in to China in the 1930s, crayfish have become a famous dish in Chinese cuisine, especially in summer.
According to a report by the National Fisheries Technology Extension Center, China produced 899,100 tons of crayfish in 2016, making it the largest crayfish breeder in the world. Some 879,300 tons of crayfish were consumed the same year.