36 pence for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas

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Octopus for 36 p at Morrisons
Octopus for 36 p at Morrisons

Octopus for 36 p at Morrisons. Photo: Twitter (Justin Webb).

The words in the title are those of Justin Webb, 41, on Twitter. He is a charity worker and vegan. He took a photo of a baby octopus wrapped up in cellophane, for sale for 36p and posted it on Twitter saying: “36p for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas. I swear we do not deserve this world.”

He followed up by saying: “And in 20 minutes time, it will be thrown in the bin like trash.”

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

His tweet had been viewed 43,000 times last night and retweeted 6,000 times. The number will increase. It does highlight the lack of value that humankind places on animals. Animal welfare campaigners have condemned the sale of this octopus at 36p.

Justin Webb puts the lively response down in part to the popularity of the 2020 Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher in which a filmmaker entered into a very strong relationship with an octopus in a South African kelp bed.

Among those who have criticised the supermarket are the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation of which Carrie Johnson is a patron. The foundation is campaigning for octopuses and lobsters to be recognised as sentient creatures and that they should fall within the ambit of the new Animal Sentience Bill.

Lorraine Platt, the charity’s co-founder said to The Times newspaper (the source of this article) that: “It just shows you the low value that we put on other living beings in our world around us. I don’t think you can even buy a chocolate bar for 36p. Octopuses are highly intelligent, sentient animals that roam the seas and this image is heartbreaking. It really tugs at the heartstrings to see it shrink wrapped. It’s pitifully sad and grim.”

She wants people to choose healthy alternatives to eating octopuses. She expects many octopuses to end up in the rubbish bin. The one in question was running out of its sell by date which is why it was at a reduced price.

She said that octopuses are “beautiful sentient creatures and you wouldn’t do that to dogs or cats”. Morrisons, the supermarket who sold the octopus, said that it is the most commonly caught octopus species in Cornwall. They said that they do their best to match supply with demand but sometimes that they have to reduce the price in order to ensure that food is fit for consumption and not wasted.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that they have commissioned an independent external review of the availability of scientific evidence on sentience with respect to octopuses, cuttlefish and squid and they will consider the results of the review.


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