PAW5: Banning octopus (or general cephalopod) farming

As part of Charity Entrepreneurship's 2023 Top Ideas contest, will we select "Banning octopus (or general cephalopod) farming" as a top Preventive Animal Welfare intervention?

Idea overview

This policy advocacy charity aims to introduce a ban on farming octopuses and/or other cephalopods. Although not targeting the consumption of these creatures, the charity addresses the heightened suffering experienced by farmed octopuses compared to their wild counterparts. By targeting the conditions in which they are kept, and their high consumption of other animals as feed, the charity would seek to mitigate the overall suffering caused by the system of farming these complex creatures.

Preventive animal welfare

This year our focus is on interventions and policies that prevent future harms done to animals, as opposed to solving current problems. We will be looking for interventions that, as well as having some short run evidence of impact, will prevent future problems, i.e., have the biggest impact on farmed animals in the future, say 35 years from now.

We intend to select 2-4 ideas out of the 10 presented to recommend to entrepreneurs who enter our incubation program. This market resolves YES if this idea is chosen; NO otherwise.

About the contest

In partnership with Charity Entrepreneurship, Manifold is sponsoring a $2000 forecasting tournament to inform which ideas end up selected

  • You can win part of a $1000 prize pool as a forecaster, for best predicting which interventions we choose.

  • You can win one of ten $100 prizes for posting an informative comment on Manifold that most influences our decision.

For contest details and all markets, see the group CE 2023 Top Ideas.

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MarcusAbramovitch avatar
Marcus Abramovitch

I'm quite concerned about people replacing octopus consumption with other animals.

BTE avatar
Brian T. Edwardsbought Ṁ100 of YES

@MarcusAbramovitch Like what animals??

MarcusAbramovitch avatar
Marcus Abramovitchbought Ṁ230 of NO

@BTE shrimp, chicken, etc.

MarcusAbramovitch avatar
Marcus Abramovitchis predicting NO at 38%

If you ban octupus consumption, what do people eat more of?

BTE avatar
Brian T. Edwardsis predicting YES at 38%

@MarcusAbramovitch This is clearly a joke right?

MarcusAbramovitch avatar
Marcus Abramovitchis predicting NO at 38%

@BTE not at all

higherLEVELING avatar

@MarcusAbramovitch It says it's not targetting the consumption but of the conditions of that they are kept in. I'm not exactly sure how these markets work, or where to read more info on it, if there is, but im just going off of the description above.

MarcusAbramovitch avatar
Marcus Abramovitchis predicting NO at 30%

@higherLEVELING "This policy advocacy charity aims to introduce a ban on farming octopuses and/or other cephalopods."

higherLEVELING avatar

@MarcusAbramovitch lol true. it does say that. but then it also says that they are targetting the conditions of farming and the suffering, I probably misubnderstood and just skipped the first part.

MarcusAbramovitch avatar
Marcus Abramovitch

The scale here just isn't very large. ~300k octupi are killed per year.

There already exists an organization that does this "Ocean Born Foundation".

BTE avatar
Brian T. Edwardsis predicting YES at 31% (edited)

@MarcusAbramovitch If it’s small it’s addressable with the meager funding these projects are seeded ($200kish). So it makes even more sense to me now.

BTE avatar
Brian T. Edwardsis predicting YES at 31%

@MarcusAbramovitch Things like this are best made faux pas before they get too industrialized.

BTE avatar
Brian T. Edwardsis predicting YES at 31%

@MarcusAbramovitch Kinda like faux Gras. Or stuffed duck or whatever it’s called.

BTE avatar
Brian T. Edwardsbought Ṁ70 of YES

@MarcusAbramovitch when I worked in DC one of the most aggressive lobbies was the anti-horse meat organization and they wiped it out basically but still didn’t diminish the influence of their lobby. Octopus could be the horse of the sea, you know?

finnhambly avatar
Finn Hamblybought Ṁ400 of YES(edited)

I really don't know why this is so low. People don't like the sound of bans, but it's not hard to ban octopus farms because they're not really a thing yet. However, some people are trying to create them, so now is an excellent time to establish a ban. This is from just 2 months ago:

World’s first octopus farm proposals alarm scientists
World’s first octopus farm proposals alarm scientists
Methods used on the Spanish farm would be “cruel” to such intelligent animals say experts, as details emerge.

I think this charity idea is a great one, and we should get started asap!

finnhambly avatar
Finn Hamblyis predicting YES at 28%

Many of the other preventive animal welfare ideas are also good, but I think it's more important to fund this one this year because it is simply much more pressing.

CE is also well-placed to do a good job with this kind of legal intervention (as proven by the multiple legal successes of the Lead Exposure Elimination Project). Plus, there's the possibility of fast feedback loops here, which could help CE gain even more competencies and allies in within the animal-welfare-facing side of the legal sector. That kind of thing could be helpful for informing the strategy for the Fish Welfare Initiative, the Shrimp Welfare Project, and any future 'fish welfare policy advocacy' charities.

PatMyron avatar
Pat Myron (edited)

or general

I'd definitely lean more general and present comprehensive research rather than presenting narrower patchworks of policy. I'd also explore the elasticity of supply from Pigovian taxes and other incentives before being deadset on bans:
since there don't seem to be many farming ban precedents

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polack

~2 minutes of thinking: I think 'if this is selected' depends a lot on particular way the selectors' explicitly think about the how animals are morally valued. I don't personally think it makse sense to care about octopus farming given its current/potential future scale - either you value humans much more than all animals and care less about animal welfare generally, or you care a lot more about, say, pigs or wild animals than farmed octopi, but I don't expect anyone else to share that opinion so easily

AnishaZaveri avatar
Anisha Zaveribought Ṁ15 of NO

GPT-4 ranked this as #9

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