Fisher Charged With Felony Cruelty to Animals for Ripping Octopuses Apart, Captured in PETA Exposé

For Immediate Release:
June 3, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Marathon, Fla. – PETA has just learned that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has filed a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals against fisher Charles Mora in response to the group’s complaint and video showing him ripping the mantle—which houses the hearts and other organs—off a live octopus. He was caught doing the same to other octopuses.

“Octopuses feel agonizing pain when they’re ripped apart, and Florida law prohibits such abuse, just as it prohibits mutilating a dog or cat,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “Sensitive animals endure hideous deaths in the fishing industry every day, and PETA urges diners to go vegan and leave all sea life off the table.”

Octopuses use tools, pass their personality traits on to their offspring, and cuddle with one another. In the fishing industry, hundreds of thousands of octopuses and other “nontarget” species are caught or become entangled in fishing nets—like those targeting tuna or shrimp—and are then discarded and left to die.

PETA’s footage was recorded on a vessel that supplied Keys Fisheries—the largest seller of stone crabs in Florida—and showed workers tearing the claws off live crabs and tossing the mutilated animals back into the ocean to suffer and die. PETA argues that this practice also violates Florida’s cruelty-to-animals law. The group has also filed a complaint seeking a criminal investigation after filming a worker slamming a shark against the boat and appearing to carve out chunks of the animal’s flesh.

Broadcast-quality video footage is available for download here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind