The news has set off alerts with researchers, progressives, conservationists, and animal welfare advocates, the BBC reports.
Octopuses are complex animals believed by scientists to show gigantic intelligence, creativity, and surprisingly emotional reactions. They have been seen to escape from aquariums, take fish out of traps set by people, use tools, and structure bonds with care givers.
“Given their exceptional abilities, one might ask whether humans should be eating octopus at all, but here we want to raise a different ethical question,” scientists Jennifer Jacquet, Becca Franks, Peter Godfrey-Smith, and Walter Sánchez-Suárez wrote in a 2019 article for the journal Issues in Science and Technology.
“As global demand for octopus grows, especially in affluent markets, so have efforts to farm them. We believe that octopuses are particularly ill-suited to a life in captivity and mass-production, for reasons both ethical and ecological.”
Such is octopus intelligence that they are to be “officially perceived as aware and sentient beings in domestic law,” in the United Kingdom, a policy decision made after experts and scientists investigated many scientific studies about their level of cognition and proof of their capacity to experience both pleasure and pain.
The experts behind the U.K. report x came to the resolution that “high-welfare octopus farming was impossible.”
Yet that assurance – and surprisingly the drifting of a potential restriction on the importation of cultivated octopus to the U.K. in the future seems to have done barely anything to discourage Nueva Pescanova.
While Nueva Pescanova contends its octopus ranch will decrease harm connected with fishing octopi in the wild [ a case questioned by certain advocates] the firm declined to provide the BBC with any details of how the farm will work.
“Nueva Pescanova has refused to reveal any details of what conditions the octopuses will be kept in, despite numerous approaches by the BBC,” reporter Clarie Marshall writes.