To Eat, or Not to Eat
PETER GODFREY-SMITH, philosopher of science and author of Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness Q: After spending so much time observing octopuses and cuttlefish, was your appetite for the creatures deterred? A: I don’t eat octopuses anymore. I stopped at some stage during the writing of Other Minds. I regard this as a somewhat sentimental decision, though. I am not a vegetarian, and in general I try to avoid eating the products of cruel factory farming. Compared to other kinds of meat, octopuses are not a particularly bad animal to include in your diet, as octopuses are wild-caught, shortlived, and not endangered. They are sensitive animals and I think they often suffer when they die. I am attached to them now in a way that prevents me from eating them.
DAVE PASTERNACK, chef at New York City’s Esca, lifelong fisherman, and acclaimed “fish whisperer”
Q: As someone who cooks octopus regularly, are you ever deterred by claims of their intelligence? A: I’ve caught octopus many times, they’re spectacular creatures, beautiful to see in the water. I’ve been cooking it for 30 years and had it on the menu since we opened in 2000. Sometimes you look at octopuses as animals and sometimes you look at them as food.
“An octopus has three hearts, not one. Their hearts pump blood that is blue-green, using copper as the oxygen-carrying molecule instead of the iron which makes our blood red.” —P.G.S., Other Minds