Is eating octopus ethical?
Spain's largest fishing company Nueva Pescanova has announced plans to breed octopus for commercial consumption starting next year. Animal welfare organisations are incensed, arguing that the cephalopod's intelligence makes this "unethical and questionable". Commentators in Greece, where octopus is a standard ingredient of the national cuisine, take different views on the consumption of this complex sea creature.
Selective sensitivity driven by narcissism
Columnist Giannis Kibouropoulos finds the objections of animal welfare organisations incomprehensibly. He writes in Efimerida ton Syntakton:
“Why should the extraordinary evidence of the intelligence of octopi, which they have acquired over millions of years, give them more rights than the cockroaches we don't eat or the chickens we consume in abundance? ... The selective sensitivity to the intelligent octopus reflects just how narcissistic our species is. Having long passed the threshold of plundering nature, which for millennia was our only condition of existence, we have begun to reassess nature, but with exaggerated anthropomorphism and an exclusively human yardstick.”
Rethink the way we treat all animals
Mathematician and writer Thanasis Kopadis sees the whole debate as dishonest. He writes on web portal Alfavita:
“Considering how we treat animals in general, whether or not they're part of our food chain, the recent developments with octopus seems a bit hypocritical. But what is clear is that the octopus is an amazing animal, which is being used in biomimetics and robotics. It has a mathematical design in that the dexterity and elegance of its movements is partly due to the radial symmetry of its limbs, as its tentacles run symmetrically around its mouth, like the rays of a circle.”