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Vegetarians who eat fish (pescetarians) - how do you justify this?

I have met a number of people who object to eating meat for ethical reasons but eat fish. If you are one of these people why? How do you justify eating fish?

I'm just curious. I think Peter Singer tries to offer a defense of fish eating in his book 'practical ethics' but I don't remember finding it very convincing at all.

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I'm a vegetarian but I think fish are much less sentient, self-aware and able to suffer than other animals. I'd rather kill a fish than a cow.
Fish are healthier? :dontknow:
I don't eat meat at all, going on 4 years now and only rarely fish. I don't ever refer to myself as a vegetarian or Pesc though. I have a long list of reasons for my diet but I don't believe I could ever justify eating fish. I am also chosing to enter a career field where I know I am going to have to go against most of what I believe in and so would feel an absolute fraud to say I'm a veggie.
Reply 4
nolongerhearthemusic
I'm a vegetarian but I think fish are much less sentient, self-aware and able to suffer than other animals. I'd rather kill a fish than a cow.

And I'd rather kill a cow than a human but that doesn't mean I have to do either. Why do other animals have a right to life but fish don't? Most animals that we eat like cows are incredibly stupid, I doubt they really have that much more self awareness than a fish. Plus fish still feel pain as far as I know. It seems quite arbitrary to have fish as the cut off point, why not include all animals that can feel pain?
Reply 5
Lol "im a vegetarian but i eat fish" doesnt make sense. that's like saying i'm not racist but man i hate black people.
Reply 6
Addzter
Fish are healthier? :dontknow:

I follow a pescetarian diet but I do it for health reasons. I have been thinking about cutting out all fish for a while now for ethical reasons and I was trying to think of justification for eating fish but not all other animals and I couldn't find any.
Reply 7
Why the **** does anyone have to justify it?

And I'm a "full" strict vegetarian...
Reply 8
Fish are ugly bastards. They don't even have fur. Plus they were all going to die of mercury poisoning at some point anyway.
Reply 9
I don't get vegetarianism - full stop.

So, the animal doesn't get eaten by you.

It gets eaten by someone else.

Also, where's the line between animals being sentient beings and becoming a fruitarian - where fruit and vegetables are living things, so pulling them up is "murdering" them.

If people object to the conditions the animals live in - there are organisations such as P.E.T.A who campaign for animal rights etc. If an animal isn't mistreated before it's death, I don't see what's so "wrong" about carnivorism.

Plus, I agree, you cannot be a pescetarian and still maintain your argument that eating an animal is morally wrong, because they're sentient beings. A fish has just as much right to be alive as a cow. We're not talking about eating intelligent animals such as dolphins either; cows, chickens and fish are all fairly low on the IQ scale. Pigs, however, are apparently moderately intelligent.
A better question is how can vegetarians justify eating dairy & eggs?
Vegetarianism isn't exactly a coherent decision, so vegetarians who criticise pescetarianism really irritate me: not eating meat but condoning the suffering of animals just so they can eat chocolate is just as hypocritical.
I one heard someone say "Fish Don't have souls"!

As a full vegetarian, i dont think its possible to justify not eating meat, and still eat fish. Doesn't make sense to me, as both are living things (inb4 plants are living things).
johnbrown
And I'd rather kill a cow than a human but that doesn't mean I have to do either. Why do other animals have a right to life but fish don't? Most animals that we eat like cows are incredibly stupid, I doubt they really have that much more self awareness than a fish. Plus fish still feel pain as far as I know. It seems quite arbitrary to have fish as the cut off point, why not include all animals that can feel pain?


You don't have to do either, no, but I don't mind people doing what's practical for them as long as they are doing something. I'm vegetarian but not vegan because it's not practical for me at the moment. I'm okay with that. Some people will be pescatarian but not vegetarian because it's not practical for them to be vegetarian at that time. Some people might eat meat less often. None of it is pointless because it's better than nothing. You can give £10 to charity when you could easily give another £10 and it's still a good thing to do even if you could do more.

I think fish are less capable of emotions like fear, a sense of loss at losing their babies etc., and are less self-aware than mammals. Humans can see certain emotions in mammals that they can't see in fish. It doesn't mean that fish don't suffer, but they probably suffer less.
Reply 13
nolongerhearthemusic
I'm a vegetarian but I think fish are much less sentient, self-aware and able to suffer than other animals. I'd rather kill a fish than a cow.


johnbrown
And I'd rather kill a cow than a human but that doesn't mean I have to do either. Why do other animals have a right to life but fish don't? Most animals that we eat like cows are incredibly stupid, I doubt they really have that much more self awareness than a fish. Plus fish still feel pain as far as I know. It seems quite arbitrary to have fish as the cut off point, why not include all animals that can feel pain?


Quite honestly, I simply care less for fish and they do have a lesser nervous system. I also believe that eating less cows is good for the earth, less Methane because of a decrease in cow production etc. To be fair, I agree with 'nolongerhearthemusic' entirely, and ultimately this doesn't really need to be justified.
The worst kinds of people are those who say I'm a vegetarian but I eat fish and chicken. Then how the **** is that vegetarian then?!?
People just think because fish aren't as "cute" looking or as furry as other animals they see it as ok when it's not.
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(edited 12 years ago)
Reply 16
thejonsmith
I don't get vegetarianism - full stop.

So, the animal doesn't get eaten by you.

It gets eaten by someone else.

Also, where's the line between animals being sentient beings and becoming a fruitarian - where fruit and vegetables are living things, so pulling them up is "murdering" them.

If people object to the conditions the animals live in - there are organisations such as P.E.T.A who campaign for animal rights etc. If an animal isn't mistreated before it's death, I don't see what's so "wrong" about carnivorism.

Plus, I agree, you cannot be a pescetarian and still maintain your argument that eating an animal is morally wrong, because they're sentient beings. A fish has just as much right to be alive as a cow. We're not talking of the difference between eating intelligent animals such as dolphins here - cows, chickens and fish are all fairly low on the IQ scale. Pigs, however, are apparently moderately intelligent.

I think it's quite easy to see where the line can be drawn. Fruit and vegetables don't have central nervous systems, they don't feel pain, they don't feel anything. They don't know who their 'children' are and they probably don't care. It's impossible to harm a fruit or vegetable.

A lot of animals kept for consumption aren't really kept in very good conditions for any of their lives because its expensive to give them good living conditions. Free range is okay but it's expensive. I went to an abattoir once and it actually traumatised me, it was horrible and the animals were really agitated. It was like they could sense what was coming, they were all just lined up waiting to be herded in and shot. It's that that puts me off eating meat. I actually wouldn't mind eating meat if I went along to a farm and someone just went out and picked a cow/chicken whatever and just killed it quickly.
johnbrown
I follow a pescetarian diet but I do it for health reasons. I have been thinking about cutting out all fish for a while now for ethical reasons and I was trying to think of justification for eating fish but not all other animals and I couldn't find any.


How about this: tuna mayo sandwiches, fish and chips and smoked salmon are tasty as hell.
CapturedSoul
Because it's f*cking hypocritical, that's why.


No it isn't unless you are going round telling other people not to eat fish.
Reply 19
johnbrown
I think it's quite easy to see where the line can be drawn. Fruit and vegetables don't have central nervous systems, they don't feel pain, they don't feel anything. They don't know who their 'children' are and they probably don't care. It's impossible to harm a fruit or vegetable.


Is it impossible to harm a fruit or vegetable?
Are you not "killing" a living thing when you pull it up/pick it?

johnbrown
A lot of animals kept for consumption aren't really kept in very good conditions for any of their lives because its expensive to give them good living conditions. Free range is okay but it's expensive. I went to an abattoir once and it actually traumatised me, it was horrible and the animals were really agitated. It was like they could sense what was coming, they were all just lined up waiting to be herded in and shot. It's that that puts me off eating meat. I actually wouldn't mind eating meat if I went along to a farm and someone just went out and picked a cow/chicken whatever and just killed it quickly.


This is a fair point.

But the treatment of animals can be changed through joining animal rights organisations such as P.E.T.A, rather than not eating meat. Obviously if everyone abstained, it'd have to change, but a significant enough number to shut these places down will never exist.

Fair enough on the eating meat if you could see it being killed cleanly, from a free range environment etc - but surely you could just do that, buy it from somewhere where they're kept in humane conditions?

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