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Stop Octopus Farming in the Canary Islands

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Sponsor: Free The Ocean

A new octopus factory farm in the Canary Islands intends to raise and slaughter 1 million animals every year. Take a stand!


Millions of animals are killed in factory farms each year. Many factory farms raise livestock animals for slaughter, but a new plan threatens to introduce octopus to the same fate.

Spanish company Nueva Pescanova has invested €65 million to build the world's first commercial octopus farm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, with the plan to begin selling octopuses in 20231.

Nueva Pescanova intends to supply the food and restaurant industry with 3,000 tons of octopi annually, planning to slaughter of about one million octopuses every year2.

Typically, octopi are killed by clubbing, cutting into their brains without anesthetic, asphyxiation in a net, and freezing in ice3. Scientists have recently been studying more gruesome methods of slaughter including giving octopi a chemical overdose, decapitation; or electrocution4.

Octopi are intelligent, inquisitive and sensitive. They learn to avoid sites where they have been hurt or threatened, and display strong negative behavioral changes when they are suffering5.

"It's probable that the octopus's reaction to pain is similar to a vertebrate. They can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation and they can remember it," Jennifer Mather, PhD, an expert in the behavior of octopus and squid at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, told Vice6. "There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain."

Historically, octopus farms have struggled with high mortality rates, while wild-caught octopus can bring problems with aggression, cannibalism and self-mutilation to those captive populations2.

An octopus farm in the Canary Islands would not only force thousands of octopi into a life of captivity and suffering but put more pressure on the ocean, disrupt marine ecosystems, and lead to the deaths of other marine life caught to feed the octopi7.

Octopus farming also contravenes the EU Strategic Aquaculture Guidelines because it will further deplete fish populations living in our oceans8.

Sign the petition and help us tell the governments of Spain and Gran Canaria to stop this octopus farm from operating!

More on this issue:

  1. Mike Mcrae, Science Alert (25 February 2022), "World's First Octopus Farm Planned For 2023 Is Raising Serious Ethical Concerns."
  2. Nathan Allen and Guillermo Martinez, Reuters (23 February 2022), "World's first octopus farm stirs ethical debate."
  3. Compassion in World Farming, "Octopus Factory Farming: A Recipe For Disaster."
  4. In Defense of Animals (5 October 2022), "MEDIA RELEASE: Scientists Call to Stop Octopus Farming for World Octopus Day."
  5. Sarah D'Angelo, Pain Research Forum (1 Jul 2021), "Octopuses Have Affective Pain Experience."
  6. Hillary Pollack, Vice (7 November 2015), "How An Octopus Feels When It's Eaten Alive."
  7. John Liang, Deeper Blue (12 May 2022), "Environmental Group Warns Against An Octopus Farm In The Canary Islands."
  8. European Commission, "Aquaculture guidelines."
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The Petition:

To the Secretary General of Fisheries of Spain, Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Fishing, and Food, president of the Canary Islanda, president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, and the Regional Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of the Canary Islands Government,

Your plan to allow Nueva Pescanova to establish an octopus farm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands could have a massive negative impact on the marine ecosystem surrounding the farm, as well as the community of the islands.

Nueva Pescanova intends to supply the food and restaurant industry with 3,000 tons of octopi annually, requiring the slaughter of about one million octopuses every year.

These intelligent and sensitive creatures will be killed by clubbing, cutting into their brains without anesthetic, asphyxiation in a net, freezing in ice. Some may even be killed by chemical overdose, decapitation; or electrocution.

Historically, octopus farms have struggled with high mortality rates, while wild-caught octopus can bring problems with aggression, cannibalism and self-mutilation to those captive populations.

Further, Nueva Pescanova does not clarify the methods and processes to avoid the filtration of potentially dangerous substances into the effluent or the concentration of ammonium, nitrite, nitrate and phosphorus, among other elements that can negatively affect the ecosystem.

It's clear that the planned octopus farm will not only force thousands of octopi into a life of captivity and suffering but put more pressure on the ocean, disrupt marine ecosystems, and lead to the deaths of other marine life caught to feed the octopi.

I implore you to make the right choice for our oceans and put an end to this inhumanity. Please ban octopus farming in the Canary Islands and halt the construction of the Nueva Pescanova.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: