On 21st May 2023, animal rights activists gathered in the Spanish capital Madrid to protest plans for the construction of an octopus farm in the Canary Islands. The protestors claim there are no laws in the islands, Spain, or the European Union that can guarantee the welfare of octopuses in captivity, as there is no doubt they are sentient beings who will suffer a great deal if farmed.

The company Nueva Pescanova has already submitted plans for this octopus farm to the General Directorate of Fishing of the Government of the Canary Islands, which show they intend to keep octopuses in a facility in the Port of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, in the Atlantic Ocean near Africa —which is the major island of the Canary Islands that belong to Spain. The proposed farm is scheduled to be built next year. The plan includes confining three million octopuses in pools, despite these creatures being solitary predators in their natural habitat. Jaime Poasada, a spokesperson for the protest, said “It is similar to imprisoning tigers together. They will prey on one another and will also attempt to escape due to their high intelligence and adeptness.” 

Octopuses are commonly eaten in the Mediterranean region and are particularly popular in Spain and Italy. The global demand for them has recently expanded to the US, which has seen a 23% increase in imports and China experienced a 73% surge between 2016 and 2018.

Earlier in the year, Compassion in World Farming and Eurogroup for Animals joined forces to produce a new report titled “Uncovering the horrific reality of octopus farming” highlighting everything that is wrong with the proposed farm. They also call on the EU not to use public funds to support octopus farming developments or any other new industrial animal-based farming. This report reviewed the scientific evidence relating to octopuses and the consequences of farming them.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.