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Food advice from the Guardian: don’t eat octopus… they have more genes than you

27 May 2016

9:10 AM

27 May 2016

9:10 AM

Last year the Guardian‘s food police deemed HP sauce to be the condiment of ‘the establishment’, barbecues to be borderline racist and roast dinners to be tinged with ‘received memories of oppression and an enslaved work force’. Now they have a new enemy in their sights — octopus.


Yes, a writer by the name of Elle Hunt makes the argument that humans shouldn’t eat octopus because… they have more genes than you do:

‘They may be delicious and sure, there are lots of them, but next time you’re chomping down on your barbecued octopus, just remember they were the first intelligent beings on Earth and have more genes than you do.’

While Hunt is no vegetarian, she draws a line at calamari — despite the abundance of octopus — due to the high intelligence level of cephalopods:

‘No one who considers themselves interested in the inner lives of animals, the wonders and mysteries of the natural world, can eat cephalopods in good conscience.’

She argues that they are too clever to eat given that they can ‘navigate mazes’ and ‘open jars’ without instruction. However, before anyone takes the latest piece of Guardian food advice seriously, it’s worth bearing in mind what else is off the menu if one works on a genes basis.

For onions also have more genes than humans, as do tomatoes. If we’re allowed to eat things which have a similar level of genes to us then worms may be okay but if anyone is particularly worried, raspberries are a safe choice given that they are thought to have only eight per cent of a human’s genetical material. Unfortunately Mr S is still in the dark when it comes to the genetic make-up of kale, the Guardian favourite.

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