Animal welfare campaigners have condemned the sale of an octopus for 36p at a Morrisons store as “pitifully sad and grim”.
It comes after a vegan charity worker shared on social media an image of one of the sea creatures in the reduced to clear section of a store in Eccles, Greater Manchester.
Justin Webb, 41, said in the tweet: “36 pence for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas. I swear we do not deserve this world”.
The animal, mistaken for a baby due to its size, weighed 176g and had been reduced by staff from £1.41 in a bid to sell it ahead of expiry, reports the MEN.
“We should be angry”, he added.
“The poor thing was priced at £1.41 to start with, which is offensive in the extreme for a living wild creature, to then see it marked down adds insult to injury. It shows the human disregard for life.
“We’ve moved her from her home to the rubbish bin. It’s unforgivable.
“These are beautiful, sentient creatures and you wouldn’t do that to dogs or cats.”
As his initial tweet racked up tens of thousands of likes, Mr Webb shared a link to the 2020 Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher – in which a filmmaker forges a relationship with an octopus in a South African kelp bed – which he believes contributed to the largely positive response his post received.
Morrisons said: “This is the most commonly caught octopus species in Cornwall Eledone cirrhosa, which is much smaller than the common octopus Octopus vulgaris.
“The Eledone cirrhosa species can mature from 1 year old, at anywhere from 5-12cm in size.”
Their size depends on gender; males tend to be smaller and females larger.
The supermarket giant added: “While we try to manage our stock to customer demands, it is not always possible.
“Occasionally and as a last resort — to ensure that food that is fit for consumption is not wasted — we do provide an extremely limited number of price reductions.”
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation – where Lord Goldsmith, the animal welfare minister, is a patron – joined the criticisms of the supermarket.
The charity is campaigning for octopuses and lobsters to be recognised as sentient creatures and subject to the Animal Sentience Bill while raising awareness of healthy alternatives.
Co-founder Lorraine Platt told The Times: “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.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We have already commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in the class Cephalopoda, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid — and we will carefully consider the results of this review.”
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