Some dishes are believed to have a superior taste if the animals used to prepare them are killed by the cooking process itself. The animals then die slowly by heat in contrast to more rapid methods of slaughter. Edible parts for cooking may be pulled off animals which are then discarded to die slowly.
Animals of many kinds are killed in the actual process of meal preparation: lobster, shrimp and crab are boiled alive; frog's legs are removed whilst the frog is alive; snakes are skinned alive; live monkey's skulls are opened at the dining table; drunken shrimp and sea-urchin are eaten alive; insects may be fried alive; oysters and some other molluscs are often eaten alive; fish may be placed alive on a heated plate on which they are held whilst seasoned and cooked.
Certain forms of patÃ© are obtained by force feeding animals to provoke an organic disorder which grossly enlarges the liver from which the patÃ© is derived. Some delicacies, requiring little preparation, may involve consumption of a portion of an animal whilst it is still alive, as in the case of monkey brain. In Geraardsbergen, east Flanders, a ritual of the town's annual Pretzel Festival is to drink glasses of wine containing live fish. Live turtles were used as a source of fresh food on board ship, only discarded when they died after days or weeks of agony. Turtles are butchered alive in modern Asia food markets and remain alive, deshelled and eviscerated, on tressels awaiting purchase. It is even possible to maintain animals alive as a constant source of supply of blood for drinking, as in some uses of cattle.