The image is startling. The sight of crabs being forced in clamps and bled out in what appears much like a lab from Blade Runner. The horseshoe crab is 300 million years old and that’s what haunts the image before you. That’s 200 million years older than dinosaurs. But even this sea creature isn’t likely to survive pharma’s wrath.
Horseshoe crabs are known for their unique blue blood. That blood will clot in the presence of specific bacterias, so pharma loves to use them to test out new medications, including vaccines.
The horseshoe crab is used to test every vaccine you’ve ever had. Half a million of these creatures are caught and then blew out each year for the sake of pharma’s testing. The animals are strapped in and bled out for one day, to possibly several days. Pharma claims this is harmless to the creature. In fact, they claim it is similar to a human giving blood.
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“The only problem is that the companies need a large supply of the blood of live crabs,” a 2014 article in The Atlantic noted. “Horseshoe crabs live on the seafloor, near the shore. When they want to mate, they swim into very shallow water, and horseshoe crab collectors wade along, snatching the crabs out of their habitat.”
The article also talks about how this “harmless” bleeding out is potentially linked to breeding issues. And now the populations may well be turning in a poor direction. Wouldn’t our common sense tell us that strapping an animal down for two days and bleeding it out would have negative consequences? The procedure appears like torture.
There blood is worth $15,000 a liter.
Supposedly alternative methods are being worked on, but that doesn’t excuse this type of activity on the part of pharma. Additionally, it brings up philosophical challenges to vegans who claim many meds, including vaccines, fit into their lifestyle of not consuming animal products. Because the horseshoe crab technically doesn’t die, somehow this gets a pass with many. The harm done to this species is becoming more and more defined by the day. And at some point, we won’t be able to turn back the clock.