6

votes

Why don't people consider seafood as being "meat"?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 28, 2011 at 11:58 PM

My dad's girlfriend calls herself a vegetarian yet she eats fish and seafood. I see this all over the place, people at the vegetarian health food store who are "hardcore vegetarians" yet eat fish. It seems very egotistical to consider only land animals, like ourselves, as animals. And why do people think fish is considered so much healthier than other meats? Maybe it's all the fish oil buzz (I hear people all the time who think just taking a fish oil capsule or eating a piece of salmon makes them the healthiest person on the planet) or maybe it's because fish is "low-fat". Yesterday I was at Subway and asked for chicken breast and bacon (Subway makes good salads in a pinch)... as soon as I said bacon the woman next to me turned her head and stared at me in horror. However, when people talk about how much they love fish, everyone around stares in awe of how "healthy" they are. Thoughts?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 26, 2012
at 10:50 AM

This would explain most of my family, my mom's best friend calls them "beady-eyed vegetarians".

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 26, 2012
at 10:48 AM

All I know is my 2 year old starts pointing out fish at the aquarium and tells me he wants to eat them, so absent of propaganda one way or the other, fish are people food through and through.

C181b533f1fdb423262eb0341cdedcaa

(150)

on March 02, 2011
at 04:09 PM

From The Original Catholic Encyclopedia: Throughout the Latin Church the law of abstinence prohibits all responsible subjects from indulging in meat diet on duly appointed days. Meat diet comprises the flesh, blood, or marrow of such animals and birds as constitute flesh meat according to the appreciation of intelligent and law-abiding Christians. For this reason the use of fish, vegetables, molluscs, crabs, turtles, frogs, and suchlike cold-blooded creatures is not at variance with the law of abstinence.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 01, 2011
at 10:12 PM

Is the green sea kitten about the eat the red and gray one?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:23 PM

OMG, I did too! Irony died a while back, it looks like satire has been murdered too.

16846467115e18d283565a19c374ee07

(323)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:22 PM

It's actually more about giving up red meat (seen as something tasty and pleasurable) as a sacrifice/fast in commemoration of what Jesus suffered through for our sins. It doesn't have anything to do with cold or warm blooded.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Fish could never have reached this point in evolution without the ability to perceive pain. Doesn't mean we shouldn't eat them, simply that we shouldn't strap them to a chair and make them watch PETA ads.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:01 AM

By that, I meant that scallops and certain other mollusks seem definitively unable to feel pain rather than conjecture about fish and other animals.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:00 AM

The only species that argument actually holds for are certain mollusks like scallops (and I think jellyfish as well).

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Wow. I thought that was fake. LOL.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:29 AM

I'm still waiting for them to do something that isn't highly insulting and ridiculous. The net result of PETA's existence *must* be more people wearing leather/fur and eating meat purely out of spite.

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10 Answers

6
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:05 AM

well, i personally think its a bit of cognitive dissonance at work. as mammals, we dont connect emotionally with non-mammals, and i think that for a lot of vegetarians they just dont have the same emotional attachment to a fish as they do to a cute fuzzy with big eyes and "personality". as for feeling pain, its only (im pretty sure) the mollusks that are suspected to not feel pain. i know some vegans who will eat mollusks because of those findings, but others who still see killing a mollusk as "violent".

frankly, i think that first there the emotional disconnect, then people realize how much better they feel incorporating some meat into their diet, and they come up with all sorts of excuses to do it and remain smug. i also think that there is a lot of press about the horrendous conditions in CAFO factories on land, but many people dont realize that farmed fish are kept in equally inhumane and squalid conditions. they just dont care as much. shrug when i was vegan and vegetarian, my rule was "nothing with a face". some say "nothing with a mother", but if course that can be problematic in the plant world, too.

http://www.slate.com/id/2248998/

4
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:19 PM

My mother is a pescatarian and I was for a while, so this answer is mostly from experience. A lot of the reason people call themselves vegetarians although they eat fish is simply convenience. Most people do not know what a pescatarian is, and some people don't want to go to the bother of explaining it and getting into a long session of the whys and ethical issues etc. Another reason is that when asked to choose a meal for a conference or such it is usually easier to specify the vegetarian option since fish is unlikely to be a menu option. This does cause confusion and actual vegetarians are usually quite annoyed by the results of the confusion. I always specified that I was a pescatarian for that reason, but it could be a pain.

As for the reasons for being a pescatarian vs vegetarian vs complete omnivore they are many and lots are mentioned above. Try to remember that the person next to you shocked by your meaty diet has grown up in a culture that encourages that belief but may be a paleo in the future.

As for bacon (I sense a down vote coming), I question whether it is wise to obtain it from Subway where it is certainly grain fed and full of synthetic crap. Bacon is wonderful and delicious, but does not become a "health food" simply because of being bacon, any more than salmon becomes a healthy food by being fish. (Think farmed Atlantic vs. wild Alaska) On the other hand, some nice pastured bacon broiled on top of an Alaskan salmon steak might be just the thing.

4
C181b533f1fdb423262eb0341cdedcaa

on March 01, 2011
at 10:57 AM

I can only answer from a Catholic perspective. On certain holy days we abstain from meat, it is okay to eat fish. This is because meat (birds and mammals) are warm blooded and fish is cold blooded. Nothing to do with intelligence and feelings of the eaten. By the way, I have an aquarium, and by observing the fish I have concluded they do have personalities and feelings.

16846467115e18d283565a19c374ee07

(323)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:22 PM

It's actually more about giving up red meat (seen as something tasty and pleasurable) as a sacrifice/fast in commemoration of what Jesus suffered through for our sins. It doesn't have anything to do with cold or warm blooded.

C181b533f1fdb423262eb0341cdedcaa

(150)

on March 02, 2011
at 04:09 PM

From The Original Catholic Encyclopedia: Throughout the Latin Church the law of abstinence prohibits all responsible subjects from indulging in meat diet on duly appointed days. Meat diet comprises the flesh, blood, or marrow of such animals and birds as constitute flesh meat according to the appreciation of intelligent and law-abiding Christians. For this reason the use of fish, vegetables, molluscs, crabs, turtles, frogs, and suchlike cold-blooded creatures is not at variance with the law of abstinence.

3
931d78cfa5c1490abc0a0f2c4a82eede

on January 26, 2012
at 06:32 AM

For some reason, people don't seem to think that fish feel anything, which is not true - but I think it's more of an "I can't see their feelings/they aren't warm and fuzzy like most farm animals" type of thing. I did recently read that bivalves like mussels might not have much in terms of sensory perception, but it's pretty obvious that fish and other sea life do.

I was vegetarian for most of my life, and am now pescatarian - I do not consider them the same, though sometimes when around new people, I may revert back to "I am vegetarian" so that I don't have to explain what I do and don't eat and why.

The reason I personally am ok with eating seafood but not other animals from an ethical point of view is because there are more wild-caught options and CAFO treatment is less of an issue. I still try to be aware of environmental impact and check the Monterey Aquarium's Seafood Watch as much as possible. Also try to be aware of mercury levels.

I also eat seafood because I have some health issues and my doctor really wanted me to make sure I was getting enough omega 3.

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on January 26, 2012
at 08:20 AM

I am glad for anyone that is vegetarian and eats fish. Much better for their health.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 26, 2012
at 10:50 AM

This would explain most of my family, my mom's best friend calls them "beady-eyed vegetarians".

2
F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

on January 26, 2012
at 08:14 AM

My understanding is that it goes back to the catholic church's definition as it relates to fast days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting_and_abstinence_in_the_Roman_Catholic_Church

Interestingly, the capybara, despite being the largest rodent in the world and therefore a mammal, is classified as fish under these rules and may be eaten on fridays during lent. Beavers are similarly classified.

2
Ecc00cd113485826d4bf9db81a6f0ab4

on March 01, 2011
at 06:09 AM

More of an response to the responders...

Awww - well personally I used to be a hard-core PETA vegetarian... than a slow pescatarian (including fish), although this was all throughout my teens.

The thing is - as the Vegetarian Myth talks about in the first paragraph, is that PETA relies on the assumption that all animals are killed inhumanely, and that grassfed, happy cows do NOT exist (or that all fish come from farms - which are actually pretty awful...). When you take into account that all these people believe they are getting their animals from McDonalds type facilities - it makes a little more sense. And I think inhuman conditions for cows, chickens, etc. are more talked about as opposed to fish.. and obviously, as you said, they are considering them lesser species. I love PETA for some reasons - animal welfare/fur stuff - but their propaganda for vegetarianism makes me reconsider. Eh, to each their own. We'll all be laughing when only the paleo's are left in their hundreds!!

2
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on March 01, 2011
at 12:14 AM

Fish dont have feelings.

unless you ask PETA, save the Sea Kittens! why-don't-people-consider-seafood-as-being-

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Wow. I thought that was fake. LOL.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:29 AM

I'm still waiting for them to do something that isn't highly insulting and ridiculous. The net result of PETA's existence *must* be more people wearing leather/fur and eating meat purely out of spite.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:23 PM

OMG, I did too! Irony died a while back, it looks like satire has been murdered too.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 01, 2011
at 10:12 PM

Is the green sea kitten about the eat the red and gray one?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 26, 2012
at 10:48 AM

All I know is my 2 year old starts pointing out fish at the aquarium and tells me he wants to eat them, so absent of propaganda one way or the other, fish are people food through and through.

1
1f96ce108240f19345c05704c7709dad

(1061)

on March 01, 2011
at 04:59 AM

Well, I see this an opportunity for me to copy and paste an answer I submitted two weeks ago on another post. It's a HOOT!

Please read it carefully... (it is from the URL at the end of the paste.)

Join PERV -

People for the Ethical Regard of Vegetables

  • How would you like to be separated from your nether regions, plunged into a boiling cauldron of oil or water and then eaten?

  • How would you like to have your genitalia cut off and used to decorate churches, houses and the bosoms of human females?

  • How would you like to have your unborn children put in a mill and ground up over the corpses of related species?

*How would you like to have your head cut off so that people can play football on you?

*And it???s a matter of your own health. Do you realise that leguminous vegetables such as peas and beans fix deadly nitrogen from the air, which could give you cancer?

Act now! Send a large cheque to the Number Watch Cayman Island account to become a member of PERV. In return you will receive a free catalogue of synthetised proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and fibre (no fat, of course) with price list. Leave the flowers where they are in the field. You know it makes scents.

http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2002%20February.htm

1
21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on March 01, 2011
at 12:51 AM

The reason I was given by a veggie friend was: "fish and shellfish have small brains and didn't know what was going on when they die. Likewise, they don't feel pain." So that's why she eats seafood.

I have my own thoughts/response to that. But that's what I've been told. Would love to know the "real" reason why it's ok with them...

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Fish could never have reached this point in evolution without the ability to perceive pain. Doesn't mean we shouldn't eat them, simply that we shouldn't strap them to a chair and make them watch PETA ads.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:01 AM

By that, I meant that scallops and certain other mollusks seem definitively unable to feel pain rather than conjecture about fish and other animals.

Af2ad65226384cedd4f5f08825a75b5d

(665)

on March 01, 2011
at 01:00 AM

The only species that argument actually holds for are certain mollusks like scallops (and I think jellyfish as well).

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