In the Disney movie "Finding Dory," audiences fell in love with the scene-stealing octopus named Hank who helped the main character escape from an aquarium. While octopus can't talk or drive cars, they have been known to be incredible escape artists who often leave fisherman or aquarium workers scratching their heads, wondering where their catch has gone.
That's because the cephalopod is extremely intelligent. They are capable of figuring out complex puzzles, planning attacks, memorizing landscapes and using tools to survive. This intelligence has convinced many who study the animal that it isn't just smart, but possibly a conscious being.
This fact has brought many to the conclusion that octopus should no longer be eaten, since eating one would be similar to eating a dolphin, parrot or chimpanzees — all smart animals in their own right.
But others have not gotten the memo. In fact, at this moment scientists in several countries are looking for ways to make underwater octopus farming a reality. If successful, hundreds of thousands if not millions of octopus a year would likely be kept in featureless tanks, without stimuli only to be slaughtered for human consumption.
In order to make any sort of octopus farming profitable, farmers would either have to keep them in small individual tanks or in large enclosures which held multiple animals. But according to a new study that analyzes the costs of the proposed project: "Octopuses are solitary, carnivorous animals badly suited to captivity. Confined in tiny cages, they suffer and die; confined together, they kill each other." Neither way would likely be up to the humane treatment standards most nations expect their food to be raised.
But it's not just the idea of factory farming yet another animal — and a smart one at that — that is troubling. The side effects of factory farming octopuses could be our seas as a whole. Just as we exploit thousands of acres of land to produce feed for our cows, industrial farms would require tons of wild caught shellfish and other food for their animals. So quite opposite from relieving the stress on our oceans, it could actually increase it.
Right now, scientists are encouraging nations to stop this inhumane and ecological disaster before it starts by urging them to ban octopus farming now. Doing so would kill demand and stave off an industry that will likely have serious negative effects on our planet.
Please join them, sign the petition and tell the governments of China, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Mexico, and Chile to kill this industry before it starts. Ask them to ban octopus farming.