New report launched on World Octopus Day reveals eight reasons why octopus farming is cruel and must be stopped

A new report released by leading farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming on World Octopus Day (8 October 2021) reveals eight reasons why octopus factory farming is cruel, damaging to the planet, and must be stopped. This comes just two months after an octopus was reportedly being sold for just 36p in a UK supermarket, causing a public outcry.

The report – Octopus Factory Farming – A Recipe for Disaster’reveals how plans to expand octopus factory farming would cause them to suffer greatly due to their solitary and inquisitive nature, and exposes the lack of any approved humane slaughter method. In addition, there is currently no legislation to protect their welfare in farms and their carnivorous diet makes farming them unsustainable and damaging to the environment

Wild-caught octopuses are consumed all over the world, especially in several Mediterranean countries in Europe, as well as in Asia and Mexico. Approximately 1,300 tonnes of octopus are consumed in the UK each year, and that amount has increased 12-fold since 1990. This figure does not account for the amount of octopus eaten by British tourists while abroad.

In the EU, Italy consumes the most octopus, at over 60,000 tonnes per year, but there has recently been high demand for octopus in other countries, such as the United States and Japan, even as wild octopus populations shrink. Spain has been conducting research into open-ocean net cages and tanks.

Marine Biologist Dr Elena Lara, Fish Research Manager at Compassion in World Farming and author of the report, explained: “The Netflix film, My Octopus Teacher, gave the world a moving glimpse into the lives of these unique, naturally solitary and fragile wild animals. People who watched it will be appalled to discover that there are plans to confine these fascinating, inquisitive, and sentient creatures in factory farms. Their lives would simply not be worth living.

The word ‘octopus’ comes from the Greek ‘októpus’ meaning ‘eight foot’, so our report, launched today on World Octopus Day, reveals eight reasons why octopuses should not be factory farmed. It details the immense suffering it would cause, the lack of a humane slaughter method and the absence of any legislation to protect their welfare. What’s more, feeding fishmeal to these carnivorous wild animals in farms is unsustainable and would be further damaging to the environment.

“That’s why, today, we have sent our report and written letters to the governments in Spain, Japan, Mexico and the US urging them to prevent any further development of octopus farming.”

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