You’d probably have to be a Guardian reader to attempt to make sense of that paragraph, but so spake Ms Elle Hunt yesterday. She not a Vegan, nor even Vegetarian – her objection to the rest of us munching Calamari as the middle classes know it, or deep fried Octopus and Squid – if such a thing ever appeared on the menu in a Middlesborough Chippie, (‘Ow much? Sick Squid?’) – is that the ‘umble octopus has more genes in their eight arms than we have arms in our jeans – or summit. I could forgive her if she was a vegetarian, but refusing to eat on the basis of the animals intelligence?
You’d think that anyone writing for the high-brow attention of the nations left-wing teachers and those searching for an appointment to a Quango, would look up a few facts before proudly parading the latin term for our wriggly friend.
Practically everything we eat has got more genes than we humans. We land somewhere on the scale of these things, midway between an Orpington Buff and the precursor to a Californian raisin, since we are going to be all technical.
She conveniently ignores the legion of Guardian articles advising their readers on the best way to achieve ‘tender tentacles’ (chuck it in the freezer for two days first) or their beloved Jamie Oliver with a full colour, hard porn video, showing you how to disembowel your friendly local octopi.
Elle’s theory is that we shouldn’t eat them, nor anything with more genes that us (that’s the tomatoe saved then) because ‘they can cross oceans’, ‘have sex at a distance’, ‘escape from anywhere’, and change the colour of their skin at will…
I draw the line at eating migrants too, but it’s nothing to do with their intelligence.
What is this obsession with Octopi? Back in 1993, parliamentary time was taken up earnestly debating whether the Octopus should be added to the list of ‘protected species’ for the purposes of the The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act – it was, but after much debate, only when ‘it becomes capable of independent feeding’. This was apparently because the octopus has six times as many neurons in its arms as a human and can carry out computational puzzles even when dismembered, so is of much interest to neurologists the world over, who find it difficult to persuade human males to allow them to remove their main thinking organ for scientific purposes…and nothing to do with the octopi’s famed ability for predicting football matches. (Anybody know its track record with referendums?)
I predict a new career for Ms ‘Elle on Earth’ Hunt – The Genome Diet. Guaranteed to lose you weight with a clear conscience. As far as I can see, it consists of Chicken marinated in E-Coli, with deep fried Fruit Fly.
Available in Chippies – even in Middlesborough.