5 Reasons Why Octopus Farming Is a Bad Idea



Here are five reasons farming octopuses is a terrible idea.

October 8 is National Octopus Day! In honor of the amazing cephalopods, here are five reasons farming octopuses is a terrible idea.

1. Octopuses are territorial. 

In the wild, octopuses are lone hunters who are fiercely territorial. Keeping several together in close proximity, as would occur in farming systems, is unnatural to them and can lead to conflict, even cannibalism.

2. Octopuses are incredible problem solvers and escape artists. 

Octopuses are capable of problem solving, outwitting predatory sharks, and navigating complex environments. Once octopuses have solved a problem, they retain long-term memory of the solution. They can navigate mazes, open screw top jars, and, in the wild, have been observed stacking rocks to protect their den entrances. Octopuses in captivity have been observed escaping to neighboring tanks to steal food and short-circuiting lights by directing jets of water at them (in the wild, octopuses prefer the dark).

3. When threatened, octopuses have an array of creative evasion tactics. 

Octopuses are known for shooting ink as a defensive tactic, but they are also camouflage artists who can change color to blend in with their surroundings or mimic other sea creatures such as jellyfish or crabs. By expelling water from their ‘siphon’—a tube of muscle within their body—they can launch themselves at speeds up to 25 miles per hour to escape an attack. The coconut octopus will walk on two limbs with a piece of coconut shell on their head to mislead predators swimming above.

4. Octopuses are carnivorous. 

Octopuses require a fish-based diet and young octopuses exclusively eat live food. Farming octopuses would put additional strain on our vulnerable marine ecosystems by adding to the use of wild-caught fish to feed farmed animals. Around one-third of the global fish catch is turned into feed.

5. Octopuses slaughtered for food are killed in a cruel manner. 

When slaughtered in the commercial food industry, octopuses are typically submerged in freezing ‘ice slurry’ kept at 26 degrees Fahrenheit. 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.” Some wild catch fisheries kill octopuses by clubbing them in the head.

Octopuses belong in the wild and dark depths of the ocean where they thrive as solitary explorers. Many in the commercial food industry are attempting to secure and launch large-scale octopus farming, like Nueva Pescanova in Spain. But raising and slaughtering more animals in intensive confinement systems is not the answer to global food demand.

Sign our petition to ban factory farming and help shift our food system to one that prioritizes plant-based and other animal-free foods that are humane and more environmentally friendly.

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