Why do some "vegetarians" eat fish? - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 09-04-2008, 03:23 PM
Beginner
 
Binary Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 214
First, let me make clear that I know fish are not vegetarian, and I hate as much as anyone the misconception that it is. But I got to wondering why there are so many people out there, whether they call themselves vegetarians or not, who will happily eat fish but not other animals. I can't make sense of it from a health, AR, AW, or any other point of view. Does anyone know why people do this?
Binary Dragon is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 09-04-2008, 03:29 PM
Beginner
 
swimsweetie401's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 600
Some omnivores just want to make themselves feel special by saying they are vegetarian but still eating fish. Stupid...uh....yeah.



swimsweetie401 is offline  
#3 Old 09-04-2008, 03:35 PM
Beginner
 
Zen Biology's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 140
They liek the lable and want to look cool without the effort of trying.
Zen Biology is offline  
#4 Old 09-04-2008, 03:38 PM
Beginner
 
Licence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 746
Reminds me of a conversation I had with a work contact recently who told me his daughter was vegetarian.



He later mentioned that she eats fish, so I said "Oh, she eats fish does she", to which he said "Oh yeah, she's not a vegan!"



You have to laugh.
Licence is offline  
#5 Old 09-04-2008, 03:47 PM
Beginner
 
ashlend's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,126
At the risk of getting beaten up by all my fellow veggies, I will admit that I used to be a fish-eating "vegetarian" -- long before I was a real one. For three years in high school, I ate fish but no other meat. All the "vegetarians" I knew at the time ate fish, so I guess the shared misconception was part of it. The other part was probably that we just didn't sympathize with fish as much as other animals. I don't know why that was. Maybe we considered them lower on the food chain, or less cute and cuddly.



It sounds as ridiculous to me now as it does to you, but I honestly think a lot of people don't see fish in the same way as other animals.



Also, I think a lot of people have the idea that fish is healthier for them than other types of meat -- the beneficial fatty acids, and all that. Of course, you can get those fats from other sources, but many people don't realize this. Frankly, the average American doesn't know very much about health and nutrition. I certainly didn't before I went vegetarian and started researching the issues.
ashlend is offline  
#6 Old 09-04-2008, 03:55 PM
Tom
Beginner
 
Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashlend View Post

At the risk of getting beaten up by all my fellow veggies, I will admit that I used to be a fish-eating "vegetarian" -- long before I was a real one. For three years in high school, I ate fish but no other meat. All the "vegetarians" I knew at the time ate fish, so I guess the shared misconception was part of it. The other part was probably that we just didn't sympathize with fish as much as other animals. I don't know why that was. Maybe we considered them lower on the food chain, or less cute and cuddly.



It sounds as ridiculous to me now as it does to you, but I honestly think a lot of people don't see fish in the same way as other animals.



Actually, that describes how I was rather accurately, also. The only difference was perhaps that although my omni family didn't hunt, we did fish. I think that may have made me less empathetic towards fish than I might have been.



(I went pescetarian the summer before my junior high school year and I stayed that way for almost 4 years- so I get any pummeling that gets meted out before you).

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Tom is offline  
#7 Old 09-04-2008, 04:16 PM
Beginner
 
codemonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,511
I honestly don't know. I ate fish for a few weeks when I was transitioning but I planned to give it up. For some reason I thought a gradual transition would be better.



I've never met anyone who called themselves vegetarian and ate fish though. I've also always thought it was weird that people don't call fish or chicken meat. Even when I was a kid I thought that was weird. If it's an animal, it's meat.
codemonkey is offline  
#8 Old 09-04-2008, 04:52 PM
Beginner
 
Beachbnny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,876
I think it's just because of all the confusion surrounding the fish issue. Most people don't consider it meat so they assume vegetarians will eat fish.



I still hear this all the time too. Just the other day co-workers were asking me if I "could" eat fish. I just say, "I can but I'm vegetarian so I don't." Then the follow up comes that some vegetarians eat fish, there are different levels blah blah blah. I just replied that no, vegetarians do not eat animals and that this type of eating would be pescatarian. What bugs me is that this wonderful, sweet, intelligent woman would push the issue... like I don't know what I'm talking about.



Most people mean well but just don't know enough about it.
Beachbnny is offline  
#9 Old 09-04-2008, 05:56 PM
Beginner
 
LiveDreamLove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Biology View Post

They liek the lable and want to look cool without the effort of trying.



ok woah back up! If they have managed to give up all other forms of meat except fish, i still think they get credit for trying. be accepting people! we need as much people on our side as we can, and if we can get people to give up some meat, i think that's better than nothing!
LiveDreamLove is offline  
#10 Old 09-04-2008, 05:59 PM
Beginner
 
Cassiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 609
What LiveDreamLove said. Even decreasing meat intake is something. I'm just happy people are thinking about it. It's this kind of all-or-nothing thinking that puts the omnis off.



Furthermore, after several years of being vegan and more years of being vegetarian before that, I've recently gone back to eating fish. I claim pescatarian, though my friends will still call me vegan because they don't quite get it. I returned to eating fish for psychological reasons, and nothing else. I needed to break my cycle anorexia, which veganism had just become another front for.



A little less judging, a little more compassion?
Cassiel is offline  
#11 Old 09-04-2008, 06:00 PM
Beginner
 
Eco_Jihadist's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binary Dragon View Post

First, let me make clear that I know fish are not vegetarian, and I hate as much as anyone the misconception that it is. But I got to wondering why there are so many people out there, whether they call themselves vegetarians or not, who will happily eat fish but not other animals. I can't make sense of it from a health, AR, AW, or any other point of view. Does anyone know why people do this?

No idea...but to be honest most meat eaters seem to think you can be vegetarian and still eat fish anyway...



(cos they grow on trees...right)
Eco_Jihadist is offline  
#12 Old 09-04-2008, 06:00 PM
Beginner
 
swimsweetie401's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 600
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveDreamLove View Post

ok woah back up! If they have managed to give up all other forms of meat except fish, i still think they get credit for trying. be accepting people! we need as much people on our side as we can, and if we can get people to give up some meat, i think that's better than nothing!



I agree that every little bit helps, but one can't go around calling themselves a vegetarian if they eat fish. They are simply omnivores that eat fish.
swimsweetie401 is offline  
#13 Old 09-04-2008, 06:13 PM
gherkin
 
Blobbenstein's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,638
the situation would be improved simply by the word "pescatarian" being more widely known.



If people really don't mind eating fish, then they should have no problem with the word.





Some one I knew changed their name from Caroline to Louise, so I called her Caroline-Louise, in my mind anyway, for a while, which helped with the transition, so maybe if people called themselves pescaterian-vegetarians, that would get the word more widely known, without having to explain too much....(?)



Doing a spell check, the word "pescatarian" isn't even in the spell dictionary, yet.

Blobbenstein is online now  
#14 Old 09-04-2008, 06:19 PM
Beginner
 
Beachbnny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,876
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blobbenstein View Post

the situation would be improved simply by the word "pescatarian" being more widely known.



If people really don't mind eating fish, then they should have no problem with the word.





Some one I knew changed their name from Caroline to Louise, so I called her Caroline-Louise, in my mind anyway, for a while, which helped with the transition, so maybe if people called themselves pescaterian-vegetarians, that would get the word more widely known, without having to explain too much....(?)



Doing a spell check, the word "pescatarian" isn't even in the spell dictionary, yet.



Actually pecatarian just got put in the new dictionary. Maybe that will help



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25556393/?GT1=43001



Technically, pescatarianism isn't related to vegetarianism at all.
Beachbnny is offline  
#15 Old 09-04-2008, 06:47 PM
Beginner
 
Binary Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveDreamLove View Post

ok woah back up! If they have managed to give up all other forms of meat except fish, i still think they get credit for trying. be accepting people! we need as much people on our side as we can, and if we can get people to give up some meat, i think that's better than nothing!



I think that's jumping the gun just a bit. If someone replaces beef and chicken with fish, keeping their meat intake the same while reducing the types, I think that they are actually doing more harm than regular omnivores. By concentrating their killing on a single animal, and a particularly unsustainable one at that, they are doing more to damage the environment/ecosystem. Further, they have now moved to killing animals that require one death per meal (more or less) as opposed to cows or pigs, where a single death will feed up to hundreds for a meal. If they are trying to reduce meat intake but still have fish every once in a while, that's one thing, and is commendable, but you can't (and shouldn't) assume that is the case a priori.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassiel View Post

Furthermore, after several years of being vegan and more years of being vegetarian before that, I've recently gone back to eating fish. I claim pescatarian, though my friends will still call me vegan because they don't quite get it. I returned to eating fish for psychological reasons, and nothing else. I needed to break my cycle anorexia, which veganism had just become another front for.



I can understand that you had/have a need to stop being vegan and start eating meat again. I can have compassion for that, and I'm not going to judge you for it. But I want to know why, when you started back up again, did you start back with fish? Why not, especially in light of the considerations mentioned earlier in the post, did you not add only some beef to your diet, or only some chicken? Why only fish?
Binary Dragon is offline  
#16 Old 09-04-2008, 06:56 PM
Beginner
 
LiveDreamLove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binary Dragon View Post

I think that's jumping the gun just a bit. If someone replaces beef and chicken with fish, keeping their meat intake the same while reducing the types, I think that they are actually doing more harm than regular omnivores. By concentrating their killing on a single animal, and a particularly unsustainable one at that, they are doing more to damage the environment/ecosystem.



ok think about that. If someone was a pescetarian, they wouldn't eat fish every single meal everyday. They would probably eat more vegetables and be closer to a vegetarian than to being an omni. (In my opinion)
LiveDreamLove is offline  
#17 Old 09-04-2008, 06:59 PM
Beginner
 
Beachbnny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,876
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveDreamLove View Post

ok think about that. If someone was a pescetarian, they wouldn't eat fish every single meal everyday. They would probably eat more vegetables and be closer to a vegetarian than to being an omni. (In my opinion)



Ever meet any pescatarians? The 2.5 that I know do eat fish at almost every meal. It's very very sad. Granted, the few pesca's that will show up here are more likely to eat less and have greater awareness considering they are seeking out more information.... IMO
Beachbnny is offline  
#18 Old 09-04-2008, 07:00 PM
Beginner
 
Veggily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,868
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binary Dragon View Post

keeping their meat intake the same while reducing the types

why are you assuming the meat intake would be the same?

"Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, 'There is no "I" in team.' What you should tell them is, 'Maybe not. But there is an "I" in independence, individuality and integrity." Â George Carlin
Veggily is offline  
#19 Old 09-04-2008, 07:02 PM
Beginner
 
ashlend's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachbnny View Post

Ever meet any pescatarians? The 2.5 that I know do eat fish at almost every meal. It's very very sad. Granted, the few pesca's that will show up here are more likely to eat less and have greater awareness considering they are seeking out more information.... IMO



When I was a pescatarian, I actually only ate fish once in a while, and was very close to vegetarian. I'm obviously not advocating pescatarianism, but I don't think this is true for all pescatarians.
ashlend is offline  
#20 Old 09-04-2008, 07:04 PM
Beginner
 
Beachbnny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,876
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashlend View Post

When I was a pescatarian, I actually only ate fish once in a while, and was very close to vegetarian. I'm obviously not advocating pescatarianism, but I don't think this is true for all pescatarians.



Nothing can be true across the board, and you're right, my example is probably the minority. I'm just saying it does happen. They eat fish nonstop.



They actually call themselves "vegetarians". I correct them a lot. They're wonderful people just a little misguided.
Beachbnny is offline  
#21 Old 09-04-2008, 07:11 PM
Beginner
 
Binary Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veggily View Post

why are you assuming the meat intake would be the same?



I'm not. I'm pointing out that we can't assume that the meat intake is less though. It could be the same (as in the case of Beachbnny's friends), or even more. I know some who eat as much fish as any other omni eats meat, and I know a few that eat less. My point was that you can't make blanket statements about how they should be commended until you know which type they are, and that this is especially so given that concentrating on any one crop (be it an animal or something like corn) can lead to much worse consequences than diversity.



Of course, all this is really tangent to my original question, which is why fish is always the meat that is last to be given up and/or first to be added back.
Binary Dragon is offline  
#22 Old 09-04-2008, 07:21 PM
Beginner
 
tcxl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 124
I can't say that I blame people for the confusion. We grew up hearing 'meat, poultry, or fish' always divided out into their own separate categories. The USDA food pyramid, the American Heart Association guidelines, cookbooks, cooking shows, etc. almost all still break them down this way. Kids are brought up hearing 'meat, poultry, or fish'. It's not hard to see why people think of fish or poultry as non-meat.
tcxl is offline  
#23 Old 09-04-2008, 07:21 PM
Beginner
 
Veggily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,868
one of my pescaterian friends would eat fish because she said that at least they get to swim around freely for part of their lives. I guess she was mostly opposed to factory farming and that's why she would not eat meat.



i wonder sometimes if people don't get confused because the macrobiotic diet is somewhat similar to the veg diet, but macrobiotics do eat some fish. i also wonder if it is because, in many people's minds, fish is not considered meat. in many restaurants, fish and meat are listed separately on the menu. it's usually not "pork" "beef" "lamb" all separate, but just "meat" and then "fish" is on a different page. "fowl" sometimes, too.



fish was the last meat i gave up. not because i liked it, which i don't, but because i needed time to get myself and the people around me used to my new diet. it is very, very difficult to avoid fish in japan. it is in all sorts of foods that look completely vegetarian on the surface. that reason probably wouldn't be the case in most western countries. but a lot of people think red meat is unhealthy, and, between fish and fowl, that fish is most healthy, so it is more socially accepted to refuse to eat red meat but continue to eat fish as one gets used to the vegetarian lifestyle.

"Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, 'There is no "I" in team.' What you should tell them is, 'Maybe not. But there is an "I" in independence, individuality and integrity." Â George Carlin
Veggily is offline  
#24 Old 09-04-2008, 07:28 PM
Beginner
 
ripvanfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassiel View Post

What LiveDreamLove said. Even decreasing meat intake is something. I'm just happy people are thinking about it. It's this kind of all-or-nothing thinking that puts the omnis off.



Furthermore, after several years of being vegan and more years of being vegetarian before that, I've recently gone back to eating fish. I claim pescatarian, though my friends will still call me vegan because they don't quite get it. I returned to eating fish for psychological reasons, and nothing else. I needed to break my cycle anorexia, which veganism had just become another front for.



A little less judging, a little more compassion?



The fish that are murdered could probably use some compassion, too. Your signature is pretty ironic.
ripvanfish is offline  
#25 Old 09-04-2008, 07:59 PM
Beginner
 
Keggan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveDreamLove View Post

ok woah back up! If they have managed to give up all other forms of meat except fish, i still think they get credit for trying. be accepting people! we need as much people on our side as we can, and if we can get people to give up some meat, i think that's better than nothing!



Thanks LiveDreamLove! I am currently making the transition to a vegetarian diet by slowly eliminating animal products from my diet. I guess fish has been the last to go for me because of the hype about fish being healthy, macrobiotic diet, and I know it sounds crazy but as someone else said, because they aren't generally seen as cute and cuddly. I don't think the public is exposed to too much of the brutality associated with the seafood industry, unlike when we go to the show and see the farming animals and get to pet them, trucks with livestock crammed in, or when we drive past pastures with herds on them. The closest thing I have experienced is at some Chinese restaurants that have the tanks at the front and they catch it then show it to you before they cook it. (Not me personally but other patrons.)



The great thing about VB is the wealth of information on it. The whole transition to a vegetarian diet for me has been a big learning experience. The more I read, the more I give up. I havn't eaten MORE fish since giving up meat though. Also I know true vegetarians don't eat fish so I hate it when someone says that I've gone vegetarian as there is still some fish in my diet at this point (but rarely), and I don't want to claim that I am one when I'm not deserving of that title. I just say I am trying to adapt a more vegetarian diet.



I know some of you who have been vegetarian or vegan for most of your life would get quite protective of this term and annoyed when it is used incorrectly. Maybe try and remember what it was like when you first changed your lifestyle and didn't know much about it like those of us who have grown up in a meat dominated environment. I'm trying my best to make the transition and have found some meateaters are quiet unsupportive of this. It'd be great if vegetarians can keep up the support!
Keggan is offline  
#26 Old 09-04-2008, 08:41 PM
Beginner
 
Zen Biology's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 140
[QUOTE=Veggily]one of my pescaterian friends would eat fish because she said that at least they get to swim around freely for part of their lives. I guess she was mostly opposed to factory farming and that's why she would not eat meat.



[\\QUOTE]



You know that fish can be intensively farmed too?
Zen Biology is offline  
#27 Old 09-04-2008, 09:16 PM
Beginner
 
Veggily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,868
yes, but i don't think i was aware of that at the time we had that conversation (several years ago) and probably would not have mentioned it if i had been, since we were eating at the time. i was just curious about why she ate fish, and that was her answer.

"Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, 'There is no "I" in team.' What you should tell them is, 'Maybe not. But there is an "I" in independence, individuality and integrity." Â George Carlin
Veggily is offline  
#28 Old 09-04-2008, 09:17 PM
Beginner
 
Mr. Sun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4,956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keggan View Post


I know some of you who have been vegetarian or vegan for most of your life would get quite protective of this term and annoyed when it is used incorrectly. Maybe try and remember what it was like when you first changed your lifestyle and didn't know much about it like those of us who have grown up in a meat dominated environment. I'm trying my best to make the transition and have found some meateaters are quiet unsupportive of this. It'd be great if vegetarians can keep up the support!



I do understand and support a transition to veg*nism.



I also understand that some people have food issues and have a need to eat meat (which could include, or be exclusively, fish) -- this isn't a physiological need but a psychological need (which doesn't make it any less a need for that person but I don't believe that anyone has a physiological need for meat). Hopefully society will move more and more towards a veg*n diet so that a veg*n diet will also be suitable for those dealing with psychological issues surrounding food. A veg*n diet is suitable but if those supporting the person with the food issue are not aware of that then they won't be helping that person to eat veg*n and people with food issues need help from others around them.



We have defintions and it's good to use the accepted ones. Vegetarians don't eat fish. Plain and simple. I think I would be just as insistent on correcting a definition if there were a bunch of people saying that a tricycle is a bicycle -- and there is no ethical issue involved with those terms. It's not necessarily about supporting people -- it's about accepted definitions.



Anyway, this thread is related to my paragraph on the "need" to eat meat:

http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...ad.php?t=90964
Mr. Sun is offline  
#29 Old 09-04-2008, 09:46 PM
Beginner
 
Cassiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 609
I guess I find the question to be wrong, if that's possible. Exactly why is it important to categorize people? To other vegans I would identify myself as vegan because we'd be on the same page. To anyone else, I kept it under my hat. It made no difference. I'm not spreading a "gospel" of veganism, and even if I were, I wouldn't feel the need to evangelize with polemic. People are generally more won over if they see that your way of life makes sense.



As for my sig being ironic, seeing dinner "from the dinner's point of view" doesn't have to mean I don't eat the dinner. You are making a bit of an assumption. Even as a vegan meat-eating didn't offend me so long as the meat-eater had seriously thought about the implications of his or her actions. People aren't stupid; they have reasons for doing what they do - I owe that assumption to everyone until they prove otherwise. I don't have to agree with what they do, but I have respect for integrity. People's understanding of "living with compassion" (or eating with compassion) is more of a spectrum than a clear-cut issue of "not eating flesh is compassionate."



Sorry, not going to derail the thread further! In response to why fish and not beef or chicken, to be honest, I perceive fish as being a) less likely to have suffered from factory-farming conditions and b) less likely to endure stressful conditions in the experience of death. So long as cattle and chickens had not endured cruel conditions in life, though, I would probably not have trouble with eating them either (though I have lost my taste for meat). My veganism was always more about factory-farming than about animal rights.
Cassiel is offline  
#30 Old 09-04-2008, 09:50 PM
Beginner
 
Zen Biology's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 140
Your veganism where u eat fish u mean?
Zen Biology is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off