Octopus underwater

Why Octopuses shouldn't be farmed for food

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Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands is on the verge of launching the planet's first high-density octopus farm, which will breed thousands octopuses for food.

The opening of such a farm raises great concerns around animal welfare

Octopuses are highly complex and sentient beings. They will be confined in cramped tanks and subjected to intense farming conditions even though scientists have warned that the animals would endure unimaginable suffering.

We fully support our colleagues in Spain who will be attending the International Save the Octopuses Fest on 4 November.

Along with squid, cuttlefish, nautilus and kin, octopuses belong to the group cephalopoda and are highly intelligent animals that can feel joy, fear and pain.

close up of an octopus eye

Below are some facts about octopuses and why they shouldn't be farmed

🐙 Octopuses are complex and intelligent creatures

Octopuses are considered among the most intelligent invertebrates. They have complex nervous systems and can solve puzzles, learn from experience, and even open jars to access food.

🐙 Octopuses are territorial

Octopuses are known to be territorial, and this territorial behaviour can be another factor contributing to the ethical concerns associated with octopus farming. In captivity, where multiple octopuses are often housed in close proximity, territorial disputes can lead to injuries, stress, and immense suffering. Octopuses require space to establish and maintain their territory but in farming environments with limited tank space, they will not be provided with the space they need to express their natural territorial behaviours.

Foto de Diane Picchiottino na Unsplash

🐙 Octopuses are sentient beings

Octopuses can feel pain, fear and stress. They possess a range of behaviours and characteristics that can indicate that they are sentient beings. These behaviours include problem-solving abilities, the use of tools, complex hunting strategies, and the ability to recognise and respond to their environment.

Octopuses also exhibit signs of distress and changes in colour and texture when exposed to stress or fear. They can also learn from experiences they make and show a degree of curiosity.

🐙 Octopuses are carnivorous

Octopuses' diets consist of fish, and young octopuses rely exclusively on live food for their nutrition. Introducing octopus farming could increase the pressure on our fragile marine ecosystems, as there would be even more demand for wild-caught fish to supply feed for farmed octopuses.

🐙 Octopuses can feel pain

When slaughtered in the commercial food industry, octopuses are typically submerged in freezing ice water. Several studies have shown this causes a cruelly slow and stressful death. One study demonstrated that when an octopus’ body temperature drops below 30 degrees their muscles revert to a state that resembles unconsciousness or death but they are still alive, which “could lead to severe pain.”

Octopuses are sentient, intelligent and wild creatures that should not be mass-produced for food. They belong in the dark depths of the ocean where they are solitary explorers. Many in the commercial food industry are attempting to secure and launch large-scale octopus farming but raising and slaughtering even more animals in intensive confinement systems is not the answer to global food demand.

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