Octopuses stand out among invertebrates for their complex behaviour. They are capable of problem-solving, mimicking their surroundings using colour changes that take place on a scale of seconds, outwitting predatory sharks, discriminating individual humans, engaging in playful behaviour, and hunting in response to cooperative signals sent by fish. As these patterns of behaviour suggest, octopuses (as well as some other cephalopods) have sophisticated nervous systems and large brains.
Given their exceptional abilities, one might ask whether humans should be eating octopus at all, but here we want to raise a different ethical question. As global demand for octopus grows, especially in affluent markets, so have efforts to farm them. We believe that octopuses are particularly ill-suited to a life in captivity and mass-production, for reasons both ethical and ecological.
Read more in Issues in Science and Technology, and in Mongabay.