The Story Of An Octopus (And What It Tells Us About Our Culture)

Eat or Save?

Tim Zimmermann

This is a fascinating story about Seattle’s love of high-end, locally sourced food, versus Seattle’s progressive belief that intelligent, charismatic species shouldn’t be brought thrashing to the dinner plate. It starts by describing the legal capture, in harrowing detail, of a Giant Pacific Octopus, by diver Dylan Mayer. And then it explains what happened next:

In a city finely attuned to both the ethics of food sourcing and poster-worthy animal causes (the spotted owl, the killer whale and marbled murrelet among them), Mayer’s exploits became an instant cause célèbre. On Nov. 1 and 2, Seattle’s competing news stations reported the octopus hunt. The next day, The Seattle Times ran the story on the front page. On Web forums, Seattleites tracked down the teenager’s name and address through the clues in the photos: the truck’s license plate, the high school named on Mayer’s sweatshirt and the inspection sticker affixed to his…

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