PETA Demands Soccer Octopus Released

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has found yet another way to inject itself into an unrelated news story. The group is demanding the release of Paul the Octopus, who has correctly predicted the result of every World Cup game that the German team has played so far this year.

PETA has a penchant for making tongue-in-cheek demands that are designed to generate incredulous media coverage and, PETA hopes, some public discussion of the group's actual arguments. For example, when President Obama swatted a fly on-camera, PETA (jokingly) decried it as an "execution." The group also once insisted that all fish be renamed "sea kittens" to make people more sensitive to ethical concerns about fishing.

So what is PETA playing at with this request? Their hope, it seems, is to call attention to the intelligence of octopi like Paul and the emotional strains of captivity. The Hill's Christina Wilkie reports:

"It is extremely thankless, imprisoning the intelligent octopus in order to use it as an oracle," said Dr. Tanja Breining, a PETA marine biologist, of Paul's current home in an aquarium in western Germany.

Paul has garnered international acclaim during the month-long tournament for his ability to successfully predict the outcome of matches. Now PETA says he should be allowed to live out his days in the warm waters off the South of France.
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