Today we have joined forces with NGOs from all over Europe to urge the EU to ban the cruel and environmentally damaging practice of octopus farming to mark World Octopus Day (8 October).
The letter, sent jointly with 31 experts and NGOs including PETA, the Ocean Born Foundation and the Blue Marine Foundation warns the EU that octopuses are ‘profoundly unsuited to farming and there are serious sustainability and animal welfare problems associated with the development of such an industry.’ We’re also calling for the EU to ban the importation of farmed octopus products.
Octopuses are highly intelligent wild animals
Last year we produced a report, Octopus Farming – A Recipe for Disaster, showing that octopuses are highly intelligent, complex and sentient wild animals who would suffer greatly in unnatural factory farm conditions. They are solitary animals who generally live and hunt on their own. Confining them to underwater tanks with other octopuses would cause high stress levels which could lead to aggression or even cannibalism.
The environmental cost
Octopuses are carnivorous and therefore need to be fed huge amounts of human edible fish products just to be kept alive before slaughter. Three kilos of marine life produces just one kilo of octopus meat. This leads to over-fishing and pressure on other marine environments in a climate when food security is already a serious concern.
Nueva Pescanova farm contradicts EU’s own strategy
Company Nueva Pescanova last year announced plans to open the world’s first commercial octopus farm in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Allowing this to go ahead is in conflict with the EU’s own strategy on sustainable food production. We strongly believe allowing this to go ahead is ethically and ecologically unjustifiable.
Elena Lara, our Research Manager and author of the report, comments: “This World Octopus Day, we should be celebrating these incredible wild animals rather than allowing them to be confined in an underwater factory farm. It’s time to end factory farming – not expand it. Octopuses are highly intelligent, sentient beings that feel pain and distress. They should never be forced together in factory farms while other sea life is decimated in order to rear them. The EU must ban the farming of octopuses and other cephalopods to ensure this cruel practice cannot be developed.”
Read the EU letter in full.