[Featured]: Octopuses and lobsters have feelings – include them in sentience bill, urge MPs

octobot

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From The Guardian:

... 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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octobot

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From BBC:

When you think of an octopus or lobster, what comes to mind? ... using animals in scientific research, including octopus and squid - though not all species. ... But for example cuttlefish, related to octopus, are very intelligent," she says.

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octobot

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From Metro:

An octopus in the sea, a lobster. The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation wants the. Mps are pushing for octopuses and lobsters to be recognised ...

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Do you think this kind of post could cause a conflict of differing opinions?
 

tonmo

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Do you think this kind of post could cause a conflict of differing opinions?
For sure! What do you think? My own thoughts are at least somewhat embedded here, but I'm always happy to discuss as I am very aware this is an evolving topic and it's very important. Depending on where laws and regulations go, it could absolutely impact how TONMO operates. I've had many rich discussions on this at past TONMOCONs (e.g., w/ @perke; would love to get her take as well!)
 
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My personal thoughts may not be as popular. So I will try not to express them to bluntly. Growing up I took in all sorts of information about certain cephalopods (squid and octopus were mainly my focus) but now that I am experienced in keeping them and have more practical knowledge, I undertand that some of the information was just sensationalized. These are not animals I would say have sentience. They are very primitive in behavior in that they do what they need to live. They do learn but it stems from acquiring what is needed to live. Like food. Their unique physiology and learning capabilities have given them a given them certain attention that may not be necessary.
Cetaceans for example are an animal I would give a little more thought into in regards to possible sentience, but I think until some clear understanding of launguage that can be translated between species is defined then that still remains on the floor.
There are also other factors that can be brought into this. More economical so I won't go into it.
 

tonmo

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They are very primitive in behavior in that they do what they need to live. They do learn but it stems from acquiring what is needed to live. Like food.
and at the same time, I can relate :mrgreen:

...I don't disagree with any of that. Re: economics, do you mean fisheries / harvesting cephs for food? Because yes, it does factor in when considering the full context of the topic.
 
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Yes I do mean fisheries. I mean octopus and lobster do have a market. Lobster for sure.
So taking them out might have ill effects on the communities that need them to survive. At least that would be my speculation. I am not against healthy and humane treatment of animals, but where does it end. If it is pursued to the point it is outlawed to fish these animals then that is to far. People need to eat and be able to make a living.
 

tonmo

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We remain part of the food chain, and for whatever reasons people like to eat cephs. I chose to stop in 2005... but I remember it enough to know they are tasty. So to your point, I would think any such change would have to be gradual, coordinated, and to some level, funded to deal with the livelihood displacement you cite and other associated issues. I would think even a gradual change would face a lot of hurdles in most governments.

The answer to "where does it end" I suppose directly correlates with our advances in understanding these creatures, and whatever the resulting knowledge is.

:hmm:
 
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I don't eat certain things anymore either. That stems from a faith based diet restriction though. Not a moral problem with eating meat.

I think given advances in technology we possibly could find more, but I do not think it would lead to discovering sentience in certain animals. That would would be to subjective. If octopus lived as long as people that would change things. We probably wouldn't be as high on the food chain if they did. Fortunately they don't.
I think today we has people tend to anthropomorphize animals. It alters our perception of them, to a point that could be disadvantageous to us.

This is going to get a little uncomfortable for some, but it is important. It comes down to individuals and choice I think. When it comes to the market end of things.
Individuals should choose if they want to consume something based on all facts presented to them. So if if something is questionable... research it, beyond clips and headlines. Find the facts and go from there. If you choose to continue eating such things after your research... That is your choice. If you choose not to... that is fine too.
If a market demands it, it will continue. If it doesn't it will fade out. Legislation should not be brought into it. That is going to potential stir up more issues that more than likely aren't necessary.
I also think these days science sometimes get politicized... unfortunately. So it will be a difficult thing to figure out.
This is ideally how it should work. Others would disagree.
As long as the animals are treated humanely that is what is important. If they are farmed, treat them well and kill humanely. If animals need to be operated on, give them an anesthetic.

Now the health factor for people is another thing to think about when it comes to food. Is octopus really that safe to eat.
For instance, I seen part of a video were Gordon Ramsay was dealing with live octopus and he bit wear the brain was. Bolting in cattle has shown to spread potentially infectious matter to other areas of the animal. So is there any similar risk... That may not be the best way of dispatching an animal. We don't know what potential neurological problems could come from eating a life form with a complicated nervouse system. Think of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. That is also something to take into consideration.
 

tonmo

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All this is more or less how I think about it as well, so you won't get a whole lot of debate from me on these topics... But, here's one :smile: --

I do think there's a "we don't know what we don't know" factor to all this, and that is a two-way street. There are definitely some compelling insights we've gained through observations... And it seems to me that it is at least plausible that they have thoughts and sentience, and I don't think that's necessarily anthropomorphism -- not any more than it is to observe that the eye of the octopus is quite similar to our own, despite highly divergent evolutionary paths. But proving it is another thing... Cuttlefishes passing the marshmallow test was pretty interesting!
 
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True somethings are pretty strait forward. Interpretation is key here though. Remember the octopus punching fish out of spite? I would think that is a more 'get away from me' than an actual action of being spiteful. Unfortunately this can get philosophical. What is true sentience? When does it surpass sentience and become sapience? It these animals could portray abilities outside of basic primitive urges that would be interesting. I have yet to see anything that indicates as such. Yes we see amazing things but it stems from basic urges.
Mating, feeding, hunting, etc. Our pet octopus might interact with us because it knows we are a source of food for example.

Here is more food for thought. What makes us advanced as a race is we can live long and communicate our history. Octopus are, by design, the opposite. They do not live long so they cannot pass down information. Each generation is new and has to learn it all over again. There advanced learning capabilities I would assume stems from a biological need to survive and adapt quickly than it is to serve them as potentially sentient beings.
 

gjbarord

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Good discussion!

I am really interested in why humans are constantly trying to find "intelligence" or "sentience" in other animals. It is just so strange to me. We are using our own biases of what those terms mean to apply them to other animals, maybe successfully or not. We are learning more and more about other animals as each day passes by and we are more and more amazed, which I think is great and exciting! At the same time, I wish there was more nuance in these types of things - as y'all have pointed out in your posts. I think what we need is more and more open discussion like this. Keep it up!

Greg
 
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Good discussion!

I am really interested in why humans are constantly trying to find "intelligence" or "sentience" in other animals. It is just so strange to me. We are using our own biases of what those terms mean to apply them to other animals, maybe successfully or not. We are learning more and more about other animals as each day passes by and we are more and more amazed, which I think is great and exciting! At the same time, I wish there was more nuance in these types of things - as y'all have pointed out in your posts. I think what we need is more and more open discussion like this. Keep it up!

Greg
I feel there could be other factors into this as well. I won't go into it to much as this is not the place for it, but if there is legislation backing it, it's political... not going there.

I still personally believe it does stem from peoples willingness and acceptance to anthropomorphize things.
Had I not started keeping octopus. I would probably still think they were crazy intelligent. Not that they aren't intelligent, but it is more relative. They are smart for an invertebrate... but there is not a lot of competition. Ants, spiders, worms, and clams are definitely not winning a nobel prize anytime soon. So comparatively to them they are mad freaking scientists. They maybe pretty smart, but not in a way that would deem them sentient.
Glad to see this conversation has not gone south.
 

Hadla

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As long as the animals are treated humanely that is what is important. If they are farmed, treat them well and kill humanely. If animals need to be operated on, give them an anesthetic.

For instance, I seen part of a video were Gordon Ramsay was dealing with live octopus and he bit wear the brain was. .
Yes, that is the perfect way of saying that!💕

and eeeeewww why did he do that? 🤮

I’ve only had squid maybe 3 times in my life. Not much of a fan of seafood although I grew up in southern Louisiana 😂
 

Iochroma

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Yes. I accept that both groups feel pain. I think the relevant question is how to dispatch the animals with a minimum of suffering. It’s the same for all of the higher animals we eat.
And let us not forget that octopus chew up crabs with abandon.
Sharks and other predators gobble up octopus with no concern for their pain receptors.
 

Bill Walton

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Another feel-good factor, 800,000 people dead in the US and many people can't even take the trouble to get vaccinated.
 
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