Nova Scotia Journal

Should the world’s first octopus farm be created?

world's first octopus farm be created

Key Takeaways:

  • Scientists and conservationists have expressed their dismay at the prospect of the world’s first commercial octopus farm becoming a reality.

They argue that such intelligent “sentient” creatures, which are thought to be capable of feeling pain and emotions, should never be commercially reared for food.

Stacey Tonkin’s job requires her to interact with a Giant Pacific Octopus. When she lifts the tank lid to feed the creature known as DJ short for Davy Jones he frequently scoots out of his cave to see her and puts his arms on the glass.

If he’s in a good mood, that is. Octopuses live to be about four years old, so he’s the equivalent of a teenager at one year old, according to her.

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“He acts like a teenager some days he’s grumpy and sleeps all day.” But, on other days, he’s very playful and active, wanting to charge around his tank and show off.”

Stacey works at Bristol Aquarium as part of a team of five aquarists, and she notices DJ reacting differently to each of them. Finally, she claims he will happily stay still and hold her hand with his tentacles.

world’s first octopus farm; Image from Time Magazine

The keepers feed the octopus mussels, prawns, and bits of fish and crab. They sometimes put the food in a dog toy for him to tease out with his tentacles to practice his hunting skills. His color, she claims, changes with his moods. “When he’s an orangey-brown, he has a more active or playful feeling.” Speckly is more curious.

Around the world, factory farming on land has evolved in different ways. Pigs, for example, are intelligent; so, what’s the difference between a factory-farmed pig producing a bacon sandwich and a factory-farmed octopus used in the popular Spanish dish Pulpo Gallego?

Conservationists argue that the sentience of many farmed animals was unknown when intensive systems were established and that past mistakes should not be reprised.

Source: BBC News

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