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Ethics of octopi in captivity?

tonmo

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R138;180200 said:
No. It is not ethically ok to keep an octopus in captivity. They are highly intelligent wild animals. They belong free. It is selfish and cruel to imprison them for our amusement. To love an octopus is to let it be free. Otherwise, we are nothing more than their wardens.
Direct and to the point. :popcorn:

I actually agree with most of your points, but the phrase "for our amusement" doesn't take into account the value of better understanding these creatures. Study, science, etc.

...and I think "imprison" implies something more than "captivity".

So I still register as "not sure"... :hmm:
 

Thales

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R138;180200 said:
No. It is not ethically ok to keep an octopus in captivity. They are highly intelligent wild animals. They belong free. It is selfish and cruel to imprison them for our amusement. To love an octopus is to let it be free. Otherwise, we are nothing more than their wardens.

I can understand this approach* as long as it is consistent. The only justification that really makes sense for 99% of hobbyists is "I like to have them in my home" as almost anything else is rationalization. Do you feel the same way about birds and fish? What about dogs, and if not, why is it different for domesticated animals?

*The discussion about highly intelligent aside for now at least.
 
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Would I say that it is ethical to keep an octopus in captivity? Yes. Many animals have been kept in captivity for many reasons. We have learned a great deal of information from keeping these animals.

Earlier this year I helped a high school class get the set up they needed to raise an octopus. These students were in a high school aquatics class... These are OUR FUTURE! These are the kids that WILL protect the ocean in the future. These are the scientists that will create the type of "utopia" everyone seems to want. How do you think you get there? If my helping this school, because it was the WHOLE SCHOOL showing up and wanting to just get a glimpse, turned even one student towards wanting to learn teach and protect these animals… then I consider it time well spent. For me, this debate has been over for a long time.

And I would like to add, that people who say they shouldnt keep animals just to kill them, should be vegans if they arent already or at the very least go back to the dark ages where there werent a lot of grocery stores to get your food in the nicely packaged wraping... if you ever ate a carrot you commited murder... it too was raised to be killed and the carrot is the root... which means the plant died... just food for thought... no pun intended lol.
 
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Interesting topic...

After doing a major project on redesigning the NY state aquarium (coney island aquarium) for a college class to make it so it emulated the natural ocean and allowed people to experience the ocean and animals in a more interactive and educational way, the assistant supervisor of the animal behaviorist department spoke with me about the whole thing and touched on the fact that aquariums in general, are a very good thing for all animals they keep. Man is destroying the earth and pollution has affected our environment...and still is as we speak. Aquariums are an example of man trying to correct himself and allow animals to thrive and live in a safe and nurtering environment...while educating people at the same time.

Im not so sure I agree about the comments on octopus not being so smart compared to dogs, other mammels, ect. They have been known to have an equivalent mentality of a house cat and treat pet owners as if...they are the owner by showing enthusiastic responses. They look you straight in the eye, have short and LONG term memory allowing them to remember certain individuals by their facial features and also allow them to remember where their dens are under the sea when they go out to hunt. As opposed to dogs who need to be praised with treats for training, Octopuses have been seen to develop learning abilities by observation. They process information visually and demonstrate learning curves which is pretty fascinating.


Dr. Jean...cephalopod biologist on the Discovery show "Ultimate Guide: Octopus" showed skepticism in thinking the octopus was actually intelligent...stating that they show complex behaviors and intelligent behaviors and because of that, their behaviors may be fixed (complex) and pattern-orientated like many other animals. In saying this she said some octopuses can open up jars and some dont...but she didnt touch on the reports of octopus demonstrating their ability to learn and adapt each time a problem is presented to them time and time again. Many octopus may not do the same as other do...but thats another reason why their so amazing...because they all have different personalities.
 
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Thales;180207 said:
I can understand this approach* as long as it is consistent. The only justification that really makes sense for 99% of hobbyists is "I like to have them in my home" as almost anything else is rationalization. Do you feel the same way about birds and fish? What about dogs, and if not, why is it different for domesticated animals?

*The discussion about highly intelligent aside for now at least.

Funny you mention domesticated animals. They were essentially bred as human companions, and to unleash them on the wild would actually be the cruel thing. Not only have they lost their survival instincts, but in many cases (for example, feral cats), they wreak havoc on the environment.
 

DWhatley

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The discussion brings about an interesting experiment. If one can assume that the domestic animals we typically keep would (and IMO do if you think about these animals returning home when the opportunity to run free presents itself) choose domestication over preditors, parasites and hunting a food supply would an octopus do the same if given the opportunity. Designing an experiment would be difficult but interesting.
 

corw314

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Wow...Very interesting thread. I also opt for yes & no...some people should not attempt to keep them and it is cruel and unethical if they are ignorant as to their care. I love the educational aspect that Sabrina mentions. This should be a very interesting discussion come october and that would be awesome to be able to set up a webcam so those that are unable to attend can participate.
 

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