Skip to main content
Start of content
Start of content

e-4312 (Animals)

Initiated by Émilie-Lune Sauvé from Montreal, Quebec

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Companies around the world have begun developing industrial-scale commercial cephalopod farms, in which tens of thousands of octopus or squid would be bred, raised and slaughtered for human consumption;
  • Octopus are highly intelligent, inquisitive and complex beings who, despite their different physiology, feel and respond to pain in a similar way to mammals;
  • Octopus are solitary, wild animals, who are particularly ill-suited to being raised in captivity and would suffer greatly on industrial farms;
  • There is currently no legislation protecting the welfare of farmed cephalopods in those jurisdictions where octopus farming is being developed;
  • Octopus farming raises significant environmental concerns due to new effluents being produced and subsequently discharged into surrounding ecosystems;
  • Octopus farm escapes also pose a serious risk to local habitats and wild animal populations with a high potential of transmitting on-farm diseases;
  • A substantial increase in the use of fishmeal and fish oil products to feed carnivorous farmed octopus will only contribute to the unsustainable pressure exerted on wild fish populations;
  • Octopus farming also poses serious public health risks, as captive cephalopods could be vectors of multiple unknown pathogens and zoonotic diseases such as cholera; and
  • Large-scale aquatic farms are a breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria and therefore contribute to the overuse of antibiotics and the dangerous creation of multidrug-resistant bacteria.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, and supporters of Animal Justice, Humane Canada, Last Chance for Animals, the BC SPCA, the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, the Montreal SPCA, the Vancouver Humane Society and the Winnipeg Humane Society, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Ban the importation of farmed cephalopod products into Canada; and
2. Prohibit the breeding or raising of cephalopods in captivity on Canadian territory.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, PC, MP

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.

All imported foods, including molluscan shellfish products such as cephalopods sold in Canada, must comply with Canada’s food safety and animal health regulations. The CFIA has controls in place to help ensure that imported products do not pose risks to humans or animals. For example, shellfish can only be imported from countries that Canada considers to have an equivalent system of food safety. Under the legislative authority of the Health of Animals Act and Regulations, the CFIA regulates the import and domestic movements of finfish, molluscs and crustaceans to prevent the introduction and spread of regulated aquatic animal diseases to protect Canada’s wild and farmed aquatic animal resources.

In terms of domestic culture, there are no federally licensed farmed cephalopod operations in Canada. As it relates to the protection of Canada’s aquatic animal resources, the CFIA implements controls, such as domestic movement permits, to contain certain aquatic animal reportable diseases within areas of Canada where they are known to occur. A permit may be required to move susceptible species of live or raw, fresh or frozen molluscs for various end uses, including culture.

Although cephalopods are molluscs, there are currently no species of cephalopods that are on the CFIA’s list of susceptible species of aquatic animals (for more information, please refer to

The humane transport of all animals is also under federal jurisdiction. Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations applies to the transport of all animals entering or leaving Canada or within Canada, including cephalopods, and must be complied with when transporting any animals. The following is a non-exhaustive list of a few examples of how the CFIA may verify compliance with the transport of animals, as specified in Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations:

  • having the knowledge and skills to transport cephalopods,
  • assessing and monitoring the risk factors related to the transport,
  • animal handling that is appropriate to cephalopods,
  • ensuring protection from inadequate environmental conditions,
  • preventing the exposure to toxic or noxious things; and,
  • appropriate container design and construction.
Open for signature
February 15, 2023, at 12:25 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 16, 2023, at 12:25 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
October 5, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01736)
Government response tabled
November 20, 2023
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia