This is why I don’t eat calamari

Well, to be honest, part of it is that I don’t like it all that much. But this is the other reason: octopuses are really smart.

Octopuses are considered the only definitively conscious invertebrate, meaning they’re the most developed animal that’s least similar to humans and, as such, the closest thing to an alien on this planet.

Farming octopuses likely means they’ll be kept in small containers with monotonous lives that do not satisfy their need for mental stimulation and exploration. Plus, note the researchers, farming octopuses so far is linked with increased aggression, parasitic infection, and high mortality rates.

So now octopus farming is on the horizon, and as the Quartz article notes, there are the ethical issues raised by their intelligence. And, apart from that, it’s pretty bad environmentally; they’re carnivores, so farming them will require lots of fishing, since basically you need three times the body weight of the octopuses to feed them.

Oh, by the way, they can recognize different human beings. And rewrite their RNA.

What’s the upside? Eating more octopuses, I guess, for those who like that sort of thing. Maybe it’s easy for me to think this is not a benefit worth imprisoning sentient creatures over and stretching our oceans even further. And maybe I’m a hypocrite because I eat other animals.

We’ve never farmed octopuses before. Octopus farming is not ingrained in our culture or economy; not farming them doesn’t disrupt anything. So why would we start now?

Let’s not. And maybe, let’s just not eat them.


UPDATE: As a friend pointed out, calamari is squid, not octopus. Well… oops.

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