5 votes

The world's first octopus farm - should it go ahead?

1 comment

  1. simplify

    News that the world's first commercial octopus farm is closer to becoming reality has been met with dismay by scientists and conservationists. They argue such intelligent "sentient" creatures - considered able to feel pain and emotions - should never be commercially reared for food.

    The whole debate is fraught with cultural complexities.

    Factory farming on land has evolved differently around the world. Pigs, for example, have been shown to be intelligent - so what's the difference between a factory-farmed pig producing a bacon sandwich, and a factory-farmed octopus being put in the common Spanish dish Pulpo a la Gallega?

    The conservationists argue the sentience of many farmed animals wasn't known when the intensive systems were set up, and the mistakes of the past shouldn't be repeated.

    Because pigs have been domesticated for many years, we have enough knowledge about their needs and know how to improve their lives, says Dr Lara. "The problem with octopus is that they are completely wild, so we don't know exactly what they need, or how we can provide a better life for them."

    Given all we know about the intelligence of octopuses, and the fact they are not essential for food security, should an intelligent, complex creature start to be mass-produced for food?

    "They are extremely complex beings," says Dr Vinther. "I think as humans we need to respect that if we want to farm them or eat them."

    1 vote