PETITION TARGETS: Governors, Legislators, and Natural Resources Departments in SC, NJ, MA, VA, MD and DE and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
UPDATE (8/14/2023): The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prohibited the hunting of horseshoe crabs in South Carolina’s Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge from March 15- July 15 during a critical spawning period. While this is welcomed news, it’s not enough. We’ll keep advocating for these animals! —Lady Freethinker Staff
Thousands of defenseless horseshoe crabs are being brutally drained of their blood in record numbers for the biomedical industry — with news detailing numerous violations of harvesting permits and minimal welfare practices.
Five bleeding companies drained a record-breaking 700,000 crabs of their blood in 2021 — with workers stabbing the animals in the heart and then bleeding out up to half of their blood to manufacture LAL, a substance used to test for bacterial contamination.
The tortured crabs then are sold as bait or dropped back into the ocean — where many of them reportedly can no longer breed and where up to 30 percent of them die prolonged deaths caused from weakness or an inability to protect themselves due to damage from rough handling.
An investigation by NPR revealed fishermen collecting the crabs for the bleeding companies showed little concern for their welfare, with collectors tossing them into boats by the hundreds or picking the crabs up by their tails — in direct contradiction of recommended welfare practices. One of the bleeding companies also has been sued for repeatedly accepting horseshoe crabs unlawfully taken from off-limit islands and from inside a national wildlife refuge.
The excessive exploitation by humans means horseshoe crabs now are listed as “Moderately Depleted” on the IUCN’s Red List. Migratory birds who rely on horseshoe crab eggs, including the red knot and piping plover, also are disappearing at alarming rates.
No defenseless animal deserves to be drained of their blood while fully conscious and then be tossed aside, weakened and half alive. The cruelty must stop now.
Due to the decimation of the horseshoe crabs, conservationists in Delaware have pitched a proposal for strengthened protections for horseshoe crabs. The five states harboring the bleeding companies would do well to take note and follow suit.
Sign our petition urging the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the legislators, governors, and natural resources departments of South Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware to do all in their power to ban the brutal taking of horseshoe crabs for their blood or use as bait — including immediately nixing any proposals that will increase their exploitation or reduce protections within their natural habitats.