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State of Washington Set to Ban Octopus Farming

News Section Icon Published 3/1/2024

A bill to ban octopus farming in the US state of Washington looks set to become the world’s first legislation to ban this cruel and environmentally damaging practice after it successfully passed in the State House and Senate.

This historic legislation, House Bill 1153, was passed in the Senate on Tuesday following a hearing earlier this month which saw our US Campaigns Manager, Allison Molinaro, testify in support of a ban. The bill will likely become law in three weeks, following the signature of the state Governor Jay Inslee.

US Campaigns Manager, Allison Molinaro testifying in a hearing on the subject of a ban on octopus farming
US Campaigns Manager, Allison Molinaro testifies in support of a ban on octopus farming

Scientists Support Efforts to Ban Octopus Farming

Last year, our aquatic research team wrote to House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee members, urging them to set a “leading example at international level for this critical issue.”

Our Senior Research Manager, Dr Elena Lara, also wrote to the Washington legislators informing that all the scientific evidence relating to octopuses showed that they “are likely to suffer in farm conditions and that this would be a wholly unsustainable and environmentally damaging practice.”

Elena is a member of The Advisory Committee of the Aquatic Animal Alliance (AAA), a coalition of animal welfare non-profit organizations led by the Aquatic Life Institute that drove the legislative efforts in Washington.

California and Hawaii have also introduced bills to ban octopus farming before it’s established within their states.

Growing International Momentum

These initiatives demonstrate a growing global support for the campaign to stop octopus farming. The victory in Washington comes as we step up efforts to stop the world’s first octopus farm going ahead in Gran Canaria, Spain. We recently joined forces with 75 NGOs, experts, and public figures worldwide to urge the Canary Islands Government to reject the plans. Thousands of our supporters also took action, urging the president of the autonomous Spanish community to stop the octopus farm.

Dr Elena Lara said: "This is a monumental win for octopuses and the future of ethical food production. We applaud the State of Washington for taking this decisive step to protect these intelligent and sensitive creatures from the detrimental impacts of commercial farming and we look forward to it being confirmed in law very soon."

“It shows the growing global support that exists for a ban on octopus farming.  We will also continue to do everything we can to stop the plans to build the world’s first commercial octopus farm in Gran Canaria. Octopuses are sentient, intelligent creatures that feel pain, suffering and distress, just like other animals. They belong in our oceans, not in farms.”

Globally, we are seeing a rise in efforts to introduce new species, like the octopus, into the factory farming system. We must urge governments to stop the expansion and work towards a fair transition to a better food system that safeguards our health, nature, and animals. Please sign our END.IT petition today.


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