Cos (cos) wrote,

Pescatarianism puzzles me

I've been wondering, why are there so many people out there who categorically won't eat any animals from land or air, but will eat any animlas from the sea?

I've heard lots of different reasons why people choose to be vegetarian. Some of them are,

- Moral objection to killing animals for food.
- Environmental impact.
- Saw a dead animal and got grossed out at the thought.
- Cruelty of factory farms.
- Health, and the idea that humans weren't evolved to eat so much meat.

There are more, though I think this list covers the majority more or less. And some of them, I feel too, though I choose to not eat meat most days but still eat it sometimes, rather than categorically never at all. Still, I benefit from the people who made vegetarianism a movement and continue it, because they're the reason our economy has adapted to make a lot of no-meat and less-meat options available. So I thank them for it.

But if you're going to make exceptions to a general policy of no meat, why does the exception "if it's from the water, it's fine" make sense?

People whose main reason for avoiding meat are animal cruelty issues, generally make exceptions for humanely raised meat. If someone does that, and applies a similar logic to seafood, that makes sense. That's not what I'm wondering about.

Environmentally, fishing is far far more destructive to nature than some kinds of land meat, especially poultry. And poultry's carbon cost is also less than that of fish. Shellfish such as clams and oysters are actually a net benefit to the environment, and eating more of them to support shellfish farming is a good thing. Shrimp, on the other hand, are mostly caught by bottom trawling, so cheap shrimp may be the most environmentally destructive food in the world.

Moral objections, or just gross feelings about eating animals... those seem like they should apply to animals from the sea as well. I know for some people it's a matter of how much of a consciousness something has, but I assume people who see it that way would sooner eat a chicken than a tuna! Not even mentioning the fact that so much of commercial fishing kills sea turtles and dolphins and porpoises as a side effect.

[BTW, as a related thing I've also been wondering why there isn't a common practice of avoiding all meat except for poultry & shells, since that seems to make sense from a carbon and ecosystem impact standpoint. But that's a tangent to my question here.]

And when it comes to health, top predators of the see accumulate toxins, so I'd expect a health-oriented mostly-vegetarian who makes some exceptions to also avoid fish like tuna, and make exceptions not just for shells but also for occasional land meat as well.

Do you or someone you know practice pescatarianism, where all land meat and poultry is off limits, but all/most seafood is acceptable? Can you tell me what reasoning or motivation lies behind this, for you or them personally?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post (comment count unavailable comments on DW)

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