Accused of cruelty, scientists call for end of world’s first ‘octopus farm’ in Canary Islands | A planet

Scientists and environmental activists are calling for the cancellation of a project that promises to be the world’s first octopus farm — Photo: Getty Images

Scientists is environmental activists they are calling for the cancellation of a project that intends to be the first octopus farm of the world. It was created by the Spanish company New Peskanovathe initiative in the Canary Islands promises to produce 3,000 tonnes of octopus per year, which is equivalent to around 1 million octopuses.

According to the Daily Mail, details of the farm were presented in documents taken by Nuena Pescanova to the General Directorate of Fisheries of the Canary Islands Government. The reports were then given access to animal activists from the Eurogroup.

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The company’s work reveals that octopuses, naturally solitary animals accustomed to darkness, would be kept in tanks with other octopuses, sometimes under constant light. According to experts, the confinement of hundreds of octopuses in tanks can lead to stress and changes in the animals’ behavior. In addition, the cold water slaughter method, also recommended by the company, is cruel, “causing significant pain, fear and suffering to animals, as well as prolonged death.”

The debate over the best way to breed octopuses in captivity has been going on for years. According to Jonathan Birch, a professor at the London School of Economics, more than 300 scientific studies show that octopuses can feel sensations such as pain and pleasure. This led to their recognition as ‘sentient beings’ in 2022 by the UK’s Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act.

There are currently no rules for commercial octopus farming, as there never was. For Reineke Hameleers, Eurogroup’s managing director for animals, by blocking the start of the octopus farm, the European Commission has “a real chance to ‘avoid terrible suffering'”.

The Spanish project is not the only one in the world, but it is the most advanced so far – with an investment of 50 million euros, according to Nueva Pescanova. Other countries are also proposing to build octopus farms, such as Mexico, Japan and the United States.

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