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Supermarket Morrisons has come under fire from animal welfare campaigners after selling a baby octopus for a reduced price of just 36p.
The octopuses were mistaken for babies, but they were actually mature specimens from a small species.
Justin Webb, 41, a charity worker and vegan, spotted the octopuses in a store in Eccles, near Manchester.
He tweeted: "36 pence for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas. I swear we do not deserve this world."
His tweet received 43,000 likes and 6,000 retweets.
Webb told The Times: "I realised that they were going to end up in the rubbish bin. It shows the human disregard for life. These are beautiful, sentient creatures and you wouldn’t do that to dogs or cats."
Morrisons has been criticised by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which is campaigning for octopuses and lobsters to be recognised as sentient creatures and subject to the Animal Sentience Bill.
Lorraine Platt, the charity’s co-founder, told The Times: "It just shows you the low value that we put on other living beings in our world around us. I don’t think you can even buy a chocolate bar for 36p.
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"Octopuses are highly intelligent, sentient animals that roam the seas and this image is heartbreaking. It really tugs at the heartstrings to see it shrink-wrapped. It’s pitifully sad and grim."
Morrisons said: "While we try to manage our stock to customer demands, it is not always possible. Occasionally and as a last resort – to ensure that food that is fit for consumption is not wasted – we do provide an extremely limited number of price reductions."
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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "We have already commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in the class Cephalopoda, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid – and we will carefully consider the results of this review."
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