Shoppers and campaigners have condemned Morrisons for selling octopus for 36p, claiming it showed what little value the supermarket put on the animals.
The octopus, misidentified as a baby but in fact a mature specimen of a smaller species, had its price slashed at a branch in Eccles, near Manchester.
It comes as a group of Conservative MPs lobbied the government to class octopodes as sentient creatures.
Charity worker Justin Webb took to Twitter to highlight Morrisons’ “unforgivable” act.
“36 pence for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas,” he wrote.
“I swear we do not deserve this world.”
36 pence for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas.
I swear we do not deserve this world. 😢 pic.twitter.com/ln0yjeQcpv
— Justin Wookey Webb (@RainbowWookey) August 3, 2021
The tweet has so far been liked by over 45,000 people and retweeted more than 6500 times, including by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF).
The group, whose patrons include the prime minister’s wife Carrie Johnson, wants to include octopus and lobsters in the animal welfare bill making its way through Parliament.
The potential legislation is currently limited to protecting fish and other vertebrates.
Webb said the octopus had originally been marked at £1.41, “which is offensive in the extreme for a living wild creature”.
“To then see it marked down adds insult to injury,” he continued.
CAWF head Lorraine Platt told The Times that the price tag “shows you the low value that we put on other living beings in our world around us.”
“I don’t think you can even buy a chocolate bar for 36p,” she said.
“Octopuses are highly intelligent, sentient animals that roam the seas and this image is heartbreaking.
“It really tugs at the heartstrings to see it shrink-wrapped.”
Morrisons said: ““Occasionally and as a last resort – to ensure that food that is fit for consumption is not wasted – we do provide an extremely limited number of price reductions.”
The UK fishing fleet catches over 12,000 tonnes of cephalopods each year.