For Immediate Release:
January 8, 2018
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Toronto – A new PETA video exposé shows a live octopus at Toronto restaurant Marado Sushi being pulled from a tank, flung onto a cutting board, and crudely hacked apart as the animal flails and struggles. Only after chopping off each of the octopus’s tentacles—an act equivalent to chopping off a human being’s limbs—does the chef dice up the animal’s mantle, causing a slow, painful death. The squirming tentacles—whose multiple nerve endings cause the animal to continue writhing—are then served to patrons.
At nearby Gal’s Sushi, PETA obtained footage showing that kitchen staff removed an octopus from a tank, whisked the animal into the kitchen, and returned moments later with a plate of writhing sannakji. At least four other local restaurants serve the dish, along with live lobster and shrimp.
“With their sophisticated nervous systems, octopuses feel every cut of the chef’s blade as they’re hacked apart a diner’s fleeting taste experience,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA wants this grossly inhumane practice of butchering and serving up live, writhing, sensitive animals to stop.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—filed a complaint with the Ontario SPCA, which agreed that octopuses are protected by cruelty-to-animals legislation and informed Marado Sushi of the law. The eatery continues to serve the dish but now decapitates the octopus, which does little to destroy the animal’s brain and organs—and even if this is followed by attempts to destroy the brain, it likely causes immense suffering. A request for an investigation into Gal’s Sushi is currently pending.
Researchers agree that octopuses are playful, resourceful, smart, and capable of experiencing pain. They have been observed using tools and can change the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings.