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Sea life centre calls on Irish people not to eat octopus

Did you know that octopuses can play with Rubik’s cubes,unscrew jars and splash passers-by? An Irish sea life centre hopes these facts will make you think twice about ordering octopus in a restaurant.

An octopus playing with a Rubik's cube
An octopus playing with a Rubik's cube
Image: All pics: The National Sea Life Centre, Bray

OCTOPUS MAY NOT be first thing you think of when you order seafood in Ireland, but the National Sea Life Centre wants it banned altogether.

Staff at the Bray centre believe their experiences with octopuses mean that they should be as protected as dogs.

“It’s been suggested for years that octopuses are as intelligent as the average pet dog,” said Aisling Graham, curator/displays supervisor at the National Sea Life Centre

There are very few cultures who would consider eating a dog, and yet you can eat octopus in virtually any seafood restaurant anywhere.

The centre has launched a petition that calls on Irish people not eat octopus, and to encourage others to follow suit.

The octopus was in 2011 given the status of ‘honorary vertebrate’ by the EU. This move was designed to stop live experiments being carried out on octopuses.

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At the Sea Life Centre, cephalopod expert Kerry Perkins says that far from being lifeless, octopuses are playful creatures.

“Octopuses love to play.

We’ve had octopuses that love unscrewing jam-jars, dismantling Lego bricks, and some that even squirt water at passing aquarists.

For many cultures they are simply another food item to be harvested from the sea, and getting people to think of them in the same category as intelligent mammals will be a huge challenge.”

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