In the Czech Republic, there is a Christmas tradition that repeats itself every year - feeding on carps. This custom is unfortunately still liked and supported by the Czech society. If you don’t like this tradition, join us and show that you don’t agree with it. Organize protests in front of Czech embassies in your country and let it be known that the time has come to end these barbaric practices.
Many people think that eating carp for Christmas has been a long-time tradition in the Czech Republic. However, this habit, as we know it today, was not introduced into people’s lives until 70 years ago. Therefore, it is a very recent tradition. The Christmas customs, that have been popular earlier, used to be based on people’s lives, their beliefs and the year’s cycle. Christmas was of great importance to them and as a holiday in the middle of winter, it provided people with strength for the following cold months. Such Christmas celebrations carry a tradition which has its deep roots nested in the Czech Republic and each custom bears its meaning with it.
Whether we draw inspiration from traditional Old Bohemian Christmas or the modern form thereof, we must not forget compassion for other living beings that inhabit this planet with us. You can always choose a cruelty-free version of the form of Christmas you want to celebrate. You can willingly refuse to take part in killing millions of carps and with that, celebrate holidays of true peace and love. Do not forget that with a carp on your Christmas table, there is blood of an innocent creature on your hands and that is when our usual definition of Christmas becomes an oxymoron.
Our ancestors used to make use of anything nature has provided them with. They have lived in harmony with the seasonal rhythms and their lifestyle was accustomed to them. Although they did make use of animals, they did not perpetrate mass slaughters of them, there was no factory farming, they had more humility towards nature’s gifts and generally, they valued things much more.
In gardens and orchards, they grew crops that were a main source of livelihood to them. Since winter used to be severely cold and there was no possibility of growing crops for the whole year, they made supplies for winter - for Christmas. Before Christmas, there was a fasting until the Christmas Eve. That day was not perceived as it is today. It was not about eating large amounts for dinner.
People used to prepare dishes primarily from legumes, mushrooms and stored fruits and vegetables. At some places of our country, a nine- or twelve-course menu was prevalent - a menu consisting of the aforementioned ingredients.
Not only did these foods play an important role thanks to their nutritional values, but they also had their symbolism. Soup was said to provide people with strength, peas united people despite their differences, kuba brought happiness and well-being into the house, apples represented fertility and good health, lentils stood for an abundance of money and nuts were considered a symbol of wisdom.
Throughout the past years, a holiday of love, peace and well-being has been changing into one of stress, commerce and slaughter. Virtually nothing from the original customs and celebrations has stayed with us. People do not observe the fast and under the pressure of advertisements and commercials, they buy up everything they can. People’s greed is coming to the fore, and their humbleness is receding, along with their harmony with nature. Instead of peaceful snowy sceneries, towns are filled with vats for live carp. Carps are killed on request right before the buyer‘s eyes. That is how towns are therefore turning into a bloodbath full of cruelty and murder on every corner right before a holiday of peace and love.
A human being, looking down on other living creatures, puts carp (and other fish) on his Christmas menu. Then people happily feast on carved up bodies of dead animals. Unfortunately, many people refuse to see this fact for what it really is and moreover, they are proud of what they are doing.
In nature, carp reside at muddy pond bottoms during winter‘s months, their body activity decreases, their metabolism slows down and they mainly live off supplies they have gathered throughout the summer. This process is disturbed by fishing out the pond.
That usually happens in October and it’s a very traumatic experience for the fish. The water is slowly drained from the pond and the fish are then made to swim into the nets by hitting wooden poles over the water surface. It’s a very cruel procedure, during which the fish often suffer, but some people still consider it an amusing social event.
After this process, the fish are placed in tanks, where they are within people’s reach to do with them as they please. The tanks are often crowded with fish, so they have very little space. There is only clean water inside because people do not like the muddy taste and smell. The carp is therefore wronged of its right to prepare for winter and live its life naturally. It is deprived of proper nutrition, too, in order for it not to get very fatty, which is more dietetic for the consumer. Its fat is also a carrier of muddy odor, which would be undesirable for people as well. And thus, the poor fish is hungry, drained of energy and also stressed because of the unnatural and inappropriate conditions.
Special crates are used for the carp transportation, where there is also little space for the fish. That is why the fish get injured and are exposed to stress. When they get to the predetermined place of arrival after a disproportionate time period, they are reloaded into tubs.
The law sets certain rules for fish mongering on the streets but unfortunately, they are rarely enforced. The fish are often crammed into not enough big tubs in big numbers with insufficient oxygenation and water supply. The act of killing often involves some forbidden practices, like sticking fingers in the fish’s gills. People see these procedures as normal and forget that carp and other fish are living beings capable of social bonding and feeling fear, pain and suffering. The fact that Czech carps and other animals on this planet have to go through enormous suffering, only for people’s taste buds and habits, is unethical.
A carp as a fish can neither cry for help nor use gesticulation to make people know that it is in unbearable pain. That makes it easier for people to ignore the rights and needs of fish in general. A famished, stressed out, injured and weak carp then suffers for many days in tubs on the streets. The absurdity of Christmas ornaments combined with blood on the streets is astounding. How come so little people notice the madness of these actions? How can we sing Christmas carols while waiting for someone’s death? The law of our country has set up procedures of putting down these poor creatures, thereby predetermining and enabling their mass slaughter, which takes place right in front of the eyes of people, who are willing to take death into their homes and rejoice, while waiting for serving it for Christmas dinner.
And what is the situation with carps only? Carps in Czech Republic are bred in such amount that it appeases not only to domestic demand, but also to the one of foreign market. The statistics of year 2013 to 2014 prove this - the carp production has risen from 16,809 to 17,833 tons. About a half of all the fish stay on Czech land, while the rest is exported abroad. For that purpose, a pond surface of nearly 43,000 ha is used.
There is also a group of animals considered pest because they destroy the pond and its surroundings. These are animals like the great cormorant, the European otter or the grey heron. This only proves that humans act as superior, which they carry through organized fishing, or rather the demand on the market. And yet again comes a situation, where animal life is evaluated with money. How can the greedy human race even dare to conceive that idea? Why do people look down on others and think they have the right to do as they please with other living beings, including predestining their fates and controlling their lives? There is not a valid argument that would give people the right to do that.
he total production of fish in the Czech Republic is rising. In the last year, that production added up to 20,135 tons, compared to the number of two years ago - 19,358 tons. The year’s consumption rapidly rises from 0.02 kg to 3.73 kg per capita.
There is not an objective reason for consuming carp flesh on Christmas. The meat industry causes severe damage to the environment, it is ethically unacceptable and not necessary in any way. In this period of time, man in developed countries is able to choose from an enormous range of vegan foods and veganism as a dietary choice is regarded as suitable in every human life stage. Therefore, the choice lies in all of us - you can either choose the compassionate way and become vegan, or you can willfully take part in worldwide mass slaughter of ten billion animals a year. In case you have questions, here is a small table for you:
|Carp meat is healthy and very tasty.||Carp meat is most importantly the body parts of a killed animal. The taste and a short pleasure of a human being does not have bigger value than the animal’s life. We could speculate about health benefits of consuming fish muscle mass but eating vegan is not missing any nutrients when done right, which gives no reason for killing sentient beings.|
|Carp is easily available, not only on Christmas. It is also inexpensive.||Fish breeding in today’s amounts has a very bad influence on the environment, and therefore it affects conditions for life on the whole planet. Many negative influences result in the product being inexpensive.|
|It is a tradition and I like it.||As was already shown, the consumption of carp in the Czech Republic is not a very old tradition, contrary to popular belief. You can easily get back to Old Bohemian traditions or make up new ones, even similar to traditions of this time, but make it better by including compassion for all living beings that inhabit our planet. Do not consider enjoying the taste more important than somebody’s life and choose a compassionate way.|
The best thing for you would be jumping straight into veganism. That means no more animal products - no meat or meat products, no milk or milk products, no eggs and no products containing these ingredients. Educate yourself about the practices in animal agriculture and other areas where animals are being used. Stop paying for holding animals in cages, stop visiting circuses and zoos, do not buy wool and leather products. When time passes, you will see animals as amazing creatures with their own reasons to live and you will understand that they are not inferior to humans and that they do not deserve the treatment they get from us people.
Let’s collectively change the pre-Christmas atmosphere and stand up for ethical treatment of animals, re-entering nature and harmonizing with everything that is alive. Let’s stop pretending that we are superior and let’s stop representing our species as one of endless impudence and no respect or compassion. Let’s all fight for those who cannot defend themselves. If you also choose the way of equality for all earthlings, show the open public the truth, which is hidden beneath a tradition of willful hurting and abuse of fish. You can organize campaigns with other people nearby fish-salesmen to show the cruelty done to these defenseless animals. Follow our web page, where potential campaigns will be organized, so you could take part in them. Inform yourself and people around you. Show that Christmas can be celebrated without animal cruelty. Do not be afraid to use your voice for those nobody can hear.