World’s first octopus farm under fire for ‘cruel ice slurry’ slaughter plans

The world’s first commercial octopus farm has come under fire from animal welfare campaigners over cruelty and environmental concerns, including a ‘cruel ice slurry’ slaughter method.

Campaign groups Compassion in World Farming and Eurogroup for Animals have called for the octopus farm to be scrapped after proposed plans revealed the animal cruelty involved as well as the environmental consequences.

Around one million octopuses are intended to be reared at the proposed farm in Gran Canaria, Spain, which will produce around 3,000 tonnes of octopus each year.

The plans raised a variety of serious concerns including a cruel slaughter method which would ‘freeze’ the animals to death, keeping them in unsuitable conditions, and practices that contribute to the overexploitation of wild fish populations.

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The campaigners have outlined their concerns in a nine-page report as they call on the EU not to use public funds to support octopus farming developments or any other new industrial animal-based farming.

The plans revealed that a number of practices expected to be used at the site would raise animal welfare concerns or cause environmental damage.

These include proposals that the octopuses, which are solitary, intelligent animals used to living in the dark, would be kept in crowded tanks under round-the-clock unnatural light. They also would be killed using cruel ice slurry – a method of slaughter which has been previously proven to cause considerable pain, fear and suffering.

Some supermarkets, including Tesco and Morrisons, do not sell any fish which have been killed using ice.

Experimental trials to farm octopuses have previously suggested that the mortality rate would be around 20%, meaning that 1 in 5 animals would not survive the production cycle.

If approved, the Canary Islands farm would be the world’s first industrial octopus farm, following the recent closure of the only active octopus farm in the US, in response to Compassion in World Farming’s campaign.

“We implore the Canary Islands authorities to reject these plans and we urge the EU to ban octopus farming as part of its current legislative review,” said CWF research manager Elena Lara.

“Factory farming is the biggest single cause of animal cruelty on the planet, and it’s literally destroying our planet. We should be ending factory farming, not finding new species to confine in underwater factory farms. We must end octopus farming now.”

Eurogroup for Animals CEO Reineke Hameleers added that establishing a new farming system without consideing the ethical and environmental implications is a “step in all the wrong directions” and “flies in the face of the EU’s plans for a sustainable food transformation”.

“With the current revision of the animal welfare legislation, the European Commission now has the real opportunity to avoid the terrible suffering of millions of animals.”



1 Comment. Leave new

  • Elizabeth Higgins
    March 17, 2023 9:28 pm

    Please start a campaign to highlight the cruelty of these farms. Octopus are highly intelligent animals. If they looked cute, this would never happen. No one would tolerate a dolphin farm.


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