Christmas carp: a nice tradition or animal torture?

For many Czechs, buying a live carp before Christmas and letting it splash around in the bathtub until it’s served as a festive meal over the holidays is an indispensable tradition. But this year a second major retail chain has banned sales of live fish from vats outside their supermarkets on the grounds that this violates animal protection rights. Commentators present arguments for and against in the national press.

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Scrap this custom

Hospodářské noviny defends animals’ rights:

“Our perceptions of traditions is changing. In the history of mankind and individual nations, we are moving from identitarian brutality to universal mutual respect. As living conditions around the world gradually improve, it may be time to show respect for all living beings. With this in mind, it would probably be a good idea to consign the Christmas carp tubs to the dustbin of history, much as we did with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. And in time, maybe we’ll do the same with all slaughterhouses.”

Petr Honzejk
Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Marine fish suffer too

Lidové noviny finds the animal rights activists’ commitment to carp somewhat hypocritical:

“Selling and killing Christmas carp is really not a good thing because the fish suffer in the process. Just like the live fish in the bathtub at the customer’s home. But even fishing out of ponds isn’t exactly a gentle process. If we want to end the carps’ suffering, we shouldn’t sell their meat at all. ... There are also marine fish. Do cod, salmon and other fish deserve less compassion than carp? Marine fish is sold everywhere. Isn’t it hypocritical to restrict the sale of carp but ignore other creatures?”

Marek Hudema