The world is full of brilliant creatures, many of whom are smarter than us. One of them is the octopus. This creature can open doors, release itself from jars, turn on lights, and manage to control eight limbs with incredible care. They are able to obtain new information, utilize new skills sets, and have a solid long-term memory, too. And, unlike us dummies, octopuses haven’t set up a world that revolves around money and working. This also goes for crabs, who can navigate through mazes among other cool things. So it’s rather shocking that a UK government bill is just recognizing cephalopods (octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish) and decapods (lobsters, crabs, and prawns) as sentient beings in a new animal welfare bill. Apparently, it took this long to realize that an octopus is a sentient being.
As though them being alive with whole nervous systems and brains to think and feel things wasn’t enough. (I am not sciencey but I understand that official declarations and research take time.) What does it mean to be sentient? It means a being has a complex nervous system and can feel things like pain, excitement, and more. According to Fast Company, the bill in question is the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which passed in May. This protects animals’ overall well-being and considers the impact on them in future laws. It’s a big deal to recognize animals like crabs and octopuses because they certainly feel pain.
It’s been scientifically proven before. They are both a huge part of marine life and, well, we all know what humans as a collective have been doing to their habitat. Hopefully, this formal recognition will be a big step into making the ocean a cleaner place for them to thrive.
Congrats to animal rights activists for this expansion to their win. And congrats to all the decapods and cephalopods in the world. You’re living life the way it should be, without bills and credit scores. We owe you a salute. Power to the octopus, a sentient being and scary sea boss.