Massive Protest In Spain Against A ‘Factory Farm’ That Plans To Kill 300,000 Captive Octopuses For Their Meat

On Sunday, AnimaNaturalis, together with Eurogroup for Animals, Acción Océanos and Roots & Shoots from the Jane Goodall Institute held a protest in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid against the octopus farm that Nueva Pescanova intends to build in the Canary Islands.

“We know that any campaign that fights to prevent animal suffering faces large economic interests, and in the case of the octopus farm in the Canary Islands it could not be different,” Jaime Posada, coordinator of AnimaNaturalis in Madrid, said in a statement. “We are part of a large international initiative to call attention to the abuses that are about to be committed on this farm, and our intention is to inform the population about the consequences that this farm entails.”

The international scientific community has raised the alarm about the octopus farm that is planned to open in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. The farm could have dire consequences for the environment, health, and animal welfare.

“Octopuses are amazingly intelligent, capable of solving complex problems, sometimes using tools, and scientists are now studying the relationship between their color change and emotions,” stated Dr. Jane Goodall. “When I heard that Spanish companies plan to lock up these fascinating and sensitive creatures in octopus farms, I was deeply distraught. These farms will not be able to provide the conditions that octopuses need and deserve and will inevitably cause a level of suffering that we now know to be unacceptable.”

The octopus farm, Nueva Pescanova, will reportedly open at the end of 2023 with plans to “produce” 3,000 tons of octopus meat. Tragically, that equates to the sacrifice of at least 300,000 captive octopuses every year.

“The environmental impact of this type of farm is extremely high, with contamination from the use of chemical compounds such as fertilizers, algaecides, antibiotics, or disinfectants. These consequences do not only affect the area where the farm is located, but many others, even very far away, which is communicated by sea currents,” noted Taïme Smit, representative of Acción Océanos. “If what we want is to recover octopuses’ populations in their ecosystems, there are other, more ethical, and sustainable ways to do it. This campaign is, therefore, a call to action by the Spanish and European population to ban octopus farming at sea farms at a European level, an unnecessarily cruel and unsustainable practice.”

Since maintaining ideal growing conditions in the open sea is almost logistically impossible, they intend to breed the octopuses in tanks on land. Although these tanks are more convenient for the industry, they require a large number of resources to operate, raising questions about energy use and emissions.

Furthermore, it is not clear how the large amounts of water will be treated before being released into waterways. Finally, it is not yet known if they intend to isolate the octopuses in individual and restrictive pipes or crowd them into common tanks; but in either case, there are serious doubts about how the wellbeing of the creatures will be guaranteed.

The Spanish company plans to kill them with ice, placing them in containers of water at -3°C, despite the fact that there are studies that have shown that this slaughter method that uses “ice sludge” causes a slow and stressful death in fish.

Octopuses have no internal or external skeletons to protect them, and their skin is very fragile and easily damaged. In a farm setting, octopuses can be injured, either by physical contact from a handler, or by aggressive interactions with other octopuses. If they are confined in small spaces, they could also injure themselves by colliding with the walls of the tanks. There is a high risk of pain and suffering from the injuries that are likely to occur.

Octopuses are known for their extraordinary intelligence, and as a result of their tendency to explore, manipulate, and control their environment, they would be easily susceptible to boredom in captivity. Octopus farms likely feature sterile environments and no sensory stimuli. Also, as naturally solitary animals, octopuses would not adapt well to the crowded conditions that are typical of factory farming systems.

Please help stop this mass slaughter of octopuses by signing the #BanOctopusFarming petition, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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