• Prawns are being boycotted via an online petition run by Animals Australia.
    Prawns are being boycotted via an online petition run by Animals Australia.
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Animal activists are defending the rights of female farmed prawns who procedurally have their eyes sliced via a procedure known as eyestalk ablation.

Animals Australia is urging a boycott of Australia's farmed prawns in a bid to end the practice, which is designed to speed up the breeding process.

Eyestalk ablation is believed to bring the prawns much pain, for the purpose of bringing them to maturity.

Animals Australia has been running an online petition, which gained 25,000 hits in two days, calling for an end to the practice.

There are believed to be less invasive methods, such as changes to stocking density, lighting, and temperature in breeding ponds, which serve to bring the prawns to sexual maturity just as effectively.

Australian Prawn Farmers Association president Matt West told ABC Rural eyestalk ablation was a necessary procedure.

"Every single thing that we do to these animals is designed to reduce stress, including some of the hatcheries [that] are using anaesthesia to reduce stress," he said.

"We do eyestalk ablate, but it's done under very strict conditions and it's very, very different to what's depicted.

"If we don't do this, the capital infrastructure that farms need to bring into play would prohibit us from being a viable business because you could imagine how many animals we would need to bring in, to not ablate."