SPCA opposes octopus farming due to welfare concerns and a lack of evidence that intensive farming systems can provide octopuses with a Good Life where they experience positive welfare and their physical, health and behavioural needs are met.
SPCA is concerned with the potential welfare issues associated with octopus farming and the lack of available knowledge about octopuses species-specific welfare needs in captivity. As with the vast majority of wild or recently domesticated aquaculture species, octopuses are not adapted to life in captivity.
(See ‘Farmed Wild and Non-Domesticated Species’ for more information)
Octopuses are legally recognised as sentient, meaning they are capable of feeling pain, stress and positive emotional states. They are highly intelligent, inquisitive and behaviourally diverse invertebrates and likely susceptible to boredom and frustration in captivity. They would require high levels of species-appropriate cognitive stimulation and environmental complexity, which is not conducive of traditional farming systems.
Octopuses are solitary animals and show little tolerance of other individuals of the same species. They are not an appropriate species for intensive farming, as they would likely be housed with other individuals and/or housed in a small confined space.
Octopuses’ physiology, biological and complex behaviour make them uniquely unsuitable for intensive farming systems.
Additionally, knowledge is lacking of how to minimise pain and distress prior and during slaughter of octopuses, as currently no scientifically validated humane method of octopus slaughter exists.
SPCA opposes the practice of feeding farmed octopus with wild caught fish and invertebrates.
Approximately one third of global fish catch is turned into animal feed. Octopuses are carnivorous and therefore their diets would increase pressure on wild fish and invertebrates used for fishmeal. Octopus have a high feed conversation ratio, meaning that the weight of feed needed to sustain an octopus is about three times the weight of the octopus. This is unsustainable in a farming environment.
(See ‘Using Wild Caught Fish in Animal Feed’ for more information)
SPCA acknowledges the increasing consumer demand for wild-caught octopus and advocates for eating less and higher welfare, animal products.
(See ‘Consumption of Animal Products’ for more information)