The poor octopus

Like some birds, they can learn to perform tasks quickly and divers report seeing them building storerooms underwater for their food

ANDREW J. LINN

We are not kind to the live seafood that eventually arrives cooked on our plates. A popular misconception is that fish cannot feel pain. Lobsters are mostly boiled, barbecued, and roasted alive. The Chinese and Koreans eat live fish.

Octopus dishes are not common in Northern Europe, but around the Mediterranean there is no cuisine that excludes them.

Unfortunately for the poor invertebrate, demand outstrips supply. Catches have increased tenfold since 1950, but there is still not enough.

Octopus are cooked in many ways throughout the world, even in the USA.

So, as with many other fish species, the answer has to be factory farming.

No surprises then that Spain's Pescanova corporation has announced it will start selling "cultivated" octopus in 2023, The problem is that Pescanova will not reveal how it intends to do this, nor how they will be killed.

Octopus have very advanced brains, and UK experts have declared them to be "sentient beings" that show evidence they could experience excitement and joy, but also pain and distress.

These experts are convinced that "high-welfare octopus farming is impossible" and the government should consider a ban on imported farmed octopus.

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Like some birds, they can learn to perform tasks quickly and divers report seeing them building storerooms underwater for their food.

A recent Netflix documentary, My Octopus Teacher, shows how in captivity they are capable of socialising with their keepers. "They farm salmon don't they?" is not an acceptable response to the Pescanova proposal.