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The exploitation of octopi has been rapidly increasing with their use in research and as a luxury food item around the world.  Plans for octopi factory farms have galvanized attention to this issue and the need to protect these animals. The 5th annual World Aquatic Animal Day Resisting Octopi Exploitation panel will present some of the science showing how intelligent and ill-suited for farming these animals are. It will also include a discussion of the legal strategies resisting this exploitation including from one of the sponsors of state bill to ban such harmful activity. 

We invite anyone interested to join us. Feel free to email us your questions for the speakers before the event at

This event will be on the record and is free and open to the public.

Speakers and Talk Titles

Jennifer Jacquet - Stopping Commercial Octopus Farming Before It Starts

Jennifer Jacquet is a Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science at the University of Miami, and affiliated faculty with the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. From 2012-2022, she worked in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University.

Laura Lee Cascada - Waves of Change: The Campaign to Stop Hawaii's Octopus Farm

Laura Lee Cascada has led environmental and animal protection campaigns for 15 years, overseeing victories like the protection of Virginia's decades-long ban on uranium mining with the Sierra Club and putting vegan options on the menus of major chains including Starbucks and Subway with Animal Outlook. In her current role as Sr. Director of Campaigns at the Better Food Foundation, she spearheads campaigns like DefaultVeg, which is making plant-based food the norm at universities, coffee shops, events, and more. Laura is the founder of The Every Animal Project, a powerful storytelling blog with an upcoming print anthology series, showcasing powerful, true animal stories that help transform readers' relationships with animals. Her investigation of Kanaloa Octopus Farm in Hawaii exposed it at a petting zoo propping up the factory farming industry and led to its eventual shutdown. Laura is also the author of Dellie's Run, a novel, and her writing has been featured by outlets like One Green Planet, The Dodo, and The Ecologist. She has a master's degree in Environmental Policy from Johns Hopkins University.

Keri Tietge - Stopping Octopus Farming in the EU

Keri Tietge joined Eurogroup for Animals in September 2022 to work on the issue of octopus farming. She holds a MSc in Integrated Natural Resource Management, with prioritisation in the areas of Biodiversity and Nature Conservation and Methodology and Modelling of Sustainability. Prior to joining Eurogroup, Keri worked on various environmental issues including ecological restoration and climate change mitigation projects. It was her passion for animals, and especially aquatic animals, that led her to focus on octopus welfare. In her free time, Keri volunteers with her local species conservation group and is an active foster mom for neglected dogs.

Steve Bennett

Born and raised in the Midwest, Steve developed a strong sense of community responsibility. After graduating from Brown University with an Honors Degree in Economics, Steve served his community as a high school Economics and American History teacher for over 20 years. At the same time, he advanced solutions to community problems of urban sprawl, money corrupting politics, and problems encountered by disadvantaged communities.

He was elected to the Ventura City Council in 1993 and served until 1997. There he co-authored the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) initiatives that have made Ventura County a national leader in land-use planning. SOAR slows urban sprawl by requiring a vote of the citizens before greenbelt areas outside of the cities can be rezoned for development. During his time on the city council, he also authored one of the State's toughest campaign finance reform laws; as he fought to decrease the role of money in politics.

Amy P. Wilson - Moderator

Amy P Wilson (BCom, LLB, LLM, LLD Candidate) is the co-founder of Animal Law Reform South Africa, and was the Executive Director between March 2022 and February 2023.

She is a licensed attorney with over 12 years of professional legal experience. She is an LLD candidate and researcher focusing on the intersection of the rights of humans, nonhuman animals and Nature in law and policy and creative approaches to the attainment of an inclusive system of justice. Amy is an Independent Expert with the United Nations in Harmony with Nature Programme and a founding steering committee member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature: Africa Hub. She is a Lecturer and Research Associate with the University of Johannesburg and a Senior Adjunct Lecturer with the University of the Western Cape. Amy is the first South African to graduate with a master’s degree in animal law, leads a number of animal protection organisations throughout Africa and has worked with several animal nonprofits in the USA and internationally. She is currently co-authoring a book on aquatic animal law and co-editing the first animal law book in South Africa with Professor Melanie Murcott. In May 2022, Amy co-taught the first animal law course in South Africa with Professor David Bilchitz which they taught again in 2023.

About World Aquatic Animal Day (WAAD)

World Aquatic Animal Day is an annual day dedicated to aquatic animals, launched for the first time on April 3, 2020. It was the idea of Amy P. Wilson and is co-founded by Amy P. Wilson and Kathy Hessler. Each year, we work to raise global awareness about these often-forgotten and mistreated nonhuman animals.

Aquatic animals play a critical role in our societies and ecosystems. They are important as species, but they also have value and intrinsic worth as individuals. By “aquatic animals” we mean not only fishes or whales, but also the many other animals who inhabit aquatic habitats such as: amphibians, marine mammals, crustaceans, reptiles, mollusks, aquatic birds, aquatic insects, starfish, and corals.

Aquatic animals urgently need to be considered in policy initiatives, education, advocacy, legal decision-making, and stewardship choices. Efforts to raise awareness of the plight of aquatic animals must rise to meet the immense challenges they face. We must consider our interactions with aquatic animals, our treatment of them, and the often-devastating impacts we are having on them and on their habitats.

Join us on April 3 each year as we celebrate these creatures and call for action to protect them through education, law, policy, outreach, and other avenues. With a different focus each year, we will highlight and work to address the issues aquatic animals face.

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