Today (25th April), we together with 26 other animal protection organisations, have written to Defra’s Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey MP. We’re calling on her to consider the animal welfare implications of proposals to begin octopus farming and to ensure that products coming from such farms are not permitted into the UK.
Increasing appetite for octopus
This follows the application submitted for establishing an octopus farm in the Canary Islands, which, if approved, would be the world’s first industrial octopus farm. There are also current attempts to establish similar octopus farms in other parts of the world such as Mexico and Japan. Octopus has become an increasingly popular food in recent decades and, as a result, wild octopus numbers are dwindling.
In February, in a first of its kind move, Washington State in the US signalled it would take steps toward banning octopus farming. This followed the recent closure of the only active octopus farm in the US, the “Kanaloa Octopus Farm” based in Hawaii. The coalition hope that the UK Government will take a similar approach by prohibiting the import or sale of octopus products from these systems.
Serious animal welfare and sustainability concerns
Dr Nick Palmer, our Head of UK, said: “These farms raise serious animal welfare and sustainability concerns due to the cruelty involved and the environmental damage inflicted on our oceans.”
Experimental trials to farm octopuses suggest that the mortality rate in these systems would be around 20%, meaning that 1 in 5 individuals would not survive the entire production cycle.
Intelligent, sentient and fascinating creatures
Nick continued: “The London School of Economics report on decapod crustaceans and cephalopods, very helpfully commissioned by Defra, found that cephalopods are intelligent, sentient and fascinating creatures. These animals need to explore and engage with the environment in order to express natural behaviours, not be confined in small barren tanks.
“The report also highlights their solitary nature and often aggressive behaviour towards each other when in confined spaces. The report’s authors are “convinced that high-welfare octopus farming is impossible.
“We urge Thérèse Coffey MP to take all necessary steps to ensure that the import or sale of products originating from octopus farms is prohibited in the UK.”
Please sign our petition to end factory farming for octopuses and all animals.