There’s a feel good story in the paper today. Giovanni DeGarimore owns a fish market. He also really likes octopuses (octopi, octopods, octopus?). When a local fisherman caught a 70 pound octopus, later named Fred, Giovanni purchased Fred for a couple hundred dollars. The octopus was then set free.
Giovanni apparently believes that octopi are “magnificent and arguably sentient”. This belief was formed after an encounter with one in Fiji. He’s ardent enough in his belief that he no longer sells them.
What follows is not a hater’s diatribe.
It’s great that Giovanni is able to recognize the value of life in cephalopods. I would encourage him to question himself and understand why he limits his compassion. What is it that makes them worthy of life, but other members of the animal kingdom unworthy?
All animals want to live, and “arguably sentient” does not seem like a comprehensive methodology for granting life or sentencing to death. What about an octopus without a fully functional brain? Would that be still be worthy of life? Think even bigger, is sentience his rationale for not eating people? Of course not. He recognizes that people have a right to life and affords them that.
Props to him for sparing Fred’s life, and I hope it is the first step to affording respect and dignity to all animals.