Anti-Fish-Eating Arguments - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-02-2009, 11:40 AM
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I'm very happy, as I have met a wonderful guy who is also very interested in becoming vegetarian, or probably vegan. He was already basically pescetarian when I met him, except without giving himself the label, unless there was really nothing else around for him to eat. He's basically a vegan-in-training now. He is, however, very curious about the arguments against eating fish, as that is the only tough thing for him to give up. I must admit that I don't know as much about fish as other animals, because I've always hated seafood anyways. So far I've got:



Ethics: Fish do feel pain, and even though they can't scream, they still suffer. We, as beings with a conscience, free will, and no physical need for flesh, have the moral obligation not to purposefully cause suffering.



Environment: Much of the world's fish population has been destroyed due to over-fishing because of growing demand.



Health: Many wild-caught fish contain unsafe levels of heavy metals. Farm-raised fish are typically not as high in nutrients as wild-caught. (His main hangup on fish is a vague feeling that eating them makes him healthy and smart.)





Am I missing anything? Is there a more thorough way to frame an anti-speciesist argument in a way that omnivores would easily understand?
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#2 Old 01-02-2009, 12:08 PM
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well, there is also the fishes right to life; and although swimming around eating algae might not seem like much of a life to us, it is to them.

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#3 Old 01-02-2009, 12:35 PM
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I'm interested to see the responses to this, because I also have found it extremely difficult to give up fish, even knowing the points you raised. I have been successful in limiting my intake, but haven't been able to completely kick my sushi habit.
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#4 Old 01-02-2009, 12:54 PM
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#5 Old 01-02-2009, 12:58 PM
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All the different ways of fishing that harms the animals and environment like dynamite, or those heavy nets that scrape the ocean floor free of all plant and animal life. All the non edible creatures that get caught in the same nets, or the stationary nets such as dolphins and endangered species such as turtles.

Of course the natural response to that is ; but I only eat the farmed fish.

I don't really have a response to that, other than "they're fish, not friggin berries on a field"
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#6 Old 01-02-2009, 12:59 PM
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Maybe you should ask why he would choose taking the life of a sentient being over killing a plant.
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#7 Old 01-02-2009, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Willowriver View Post

(His main hangup on fish is a vague feeling that eating them makes him healthy and smart.)



I would argue that a pescetarian diet is healthier than an omnivorous diet with meat and fish, but a plant-based diet is healthier than both. Tell him all the goodness in fish that is supposed to be healthy comes from the plants that the fish eats anyway.
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#8 Old 01-02-2009, 01:27 PM
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(His main hangup on fish is a vague feeling that eating them makes him healthy and smart.)



Einstein was veg*n by the way. So much for that excuse.
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#9 Old 01-02-2009, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Robomonkey View Post

Maybe you should ask why he would choose taking the life of a sentient being over killing a plant.



Are you suggesting that fish are not in the plant kingdom??? I took two charts, the animal kingdom one and the plant kingdom one and I cut the fish out of the plant kingdom chart and glued it onto the animal kingdom one. I did a really good job of it too and it really looks like the fish belongs there. But the smart vegetarians know better and learned in biology that fish are plants and they aren't fooled by my trickery.



Willowriver, this is the answer I like best:



Quote:
Ethics: Fish do feel pain, and even though they can't scream, they still suffer. We, as beings with a conscience, free will, and no physical need for flesh, have the moral obligation not to purposefully cause suffering.



Check out the site that animallover linked to if you need some specifics. As far as feeling smart: if he really believes that the DHA is necessary in his case (if he thinks the ALA from flax and other sources is not being properly converted in his body) he can take a supplement. I read a study that taking 100 mg of DHA a day did help to prevent Alzheimers. One algae supplement I found at the health food store has 250 mg of DHA and 90 capsules cost about $45 (Canadian) -- that's about 50 cents a day to get two and half times as much DHA as suggested by this study. However, well balanced diet that lowers the amount of Omega 6 in the diet seems to be sufficient in providing the necessary Omega 3 (in the form of ALA) that the body needs. You can read more here: http://www.pcrm.org/health/prevmed/ess_fat_acids.html



Quote:
Originally Posted by Twiggy_Mar View Post

All the non edible creatures that get caught in the same nets, or the stationary nets such as dolphins and endangered species such as turtles.



I really HATE it when those dolphins get caught in the nets. I mean those dolphins are sentient creatures unlike the tuna-seaweed things that the nets are supposed to catching.
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#10 Old 01-02-2009, 01:35 PM
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Einstein was veg*n by the way.



Only at the end of his life.
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#11 Old 01-02-2009, 01:55 PM
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If you're a vegetarian for ethical reasons then it shouldn't be that hard. Whether or not a fish feels pain is of little concern to me. I don't necessarily believe clams feel pain but as a vegetarian that's something I've chosen not to eat. I do believe fish feel pain (especially as they die) but I suppose that's debatable. If something shows an aversion to pain, and is developed enough to attempt to avoid it, that's good enough for me. It all boils down to this... Why kill a living breathing being to simply satisfy your taste buds?



If anything I think it could be considered worse from an ethical standpoint. A dead cow may feed 50 people (just a guess) but each dead fish only feeds one.

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#12 Old 01-02-2009, 01:58 PM
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Only at the end of his life.



which was when he was his smartest, right?
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#13 Old 01-02-2009, 02:00 PM
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Great points! Thanks everybody! I think we may have a new convert shortly.

I've used many of these arguments previously, and I think they made an impact. lol Maybe I'll just buy him a bottle of flax oil, some vegan DHA, and perhaps some astaxanthin (though I don't know how much salmon he eats), along with some assorted seaweeds, and challenge him to justify killing a fish when he has the best parts in cruelty-free form already.
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#14 Old 01-02-2009, 02:14 PM
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Only at the end of his life.



Ahhh, but I have been a vegetarian for most of my life, and we all know how smart I am.
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#15 Old 01-02-2009, 02:22 PM
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Ahhh, but I have been a vegetarian for most of my life, and we all know how smart I am.



Hahaha I've used this one too. Well, not my whole life, but long enough to see any adverse health effects. It's funny, because it backs him into the corner of either admitting he's wrong or calling the physicist he's dating dumb.



So health-wise, the benefits of fish are mostly Omega fatty acids, and possibly trace minerals from the ocean (in applicable fish), right? I'm gonna go look that up. I think knowing those components more thoroughly will help me.
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#16 Old 01-02-2009, 02:41 PM
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So health-wise, the benefits of fish are mostly Omega fatty acids, and possibly trace minerals from the ocean (in applicable fish), right? I'm gonna go look that up. I think knowing those components more thoroughly will help me.



I think most people associate fish with omega-3. You can get omega-3 from flax seed oil, supplements or from fortified veg*n foods. My veg*n margerine has added omega 3 and 6 and I chew a handful of "omega mix" seeds every day.
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#17 Old 01-02-2009, 11:47 PM
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I'm interested to see the responses to this, because I also have found it extremely difficult to give up fish, even knowing the points you raised. I have been successful in limiting my intake, but haven't been able to completely kick my sushi habit.



Veggie sushi is plenty tasty tomato, cucumber, lettuce, maybe egg if you want, or tofu, really whatever you feel like, wrap it up and savor the flavor
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#18 Old 01-03-2009, 02:07 AM
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which was when he was his smartest, right?





do you mean because of the white hair and pipe smoking?



I think Einstein did most of his important work when he was younger; not that he wasn't smart in his later life.

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#19 Old 01-03-2009, 06:49 AM
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do you mean because of the white hair and pipe smoking?



I think Einstein did most of his important work when he was younger; not that he wasn't smart in his later life.



no I meant because that was when he went veg
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#20 Old 01-03-2009, 07:37 AM
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no I meant because that was when he went veg







after a bit of thought, I thought that was probably what you meant...

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#21 Old 01-03-2009, 11:01 AM
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Fish are far less intelligent that animals, I accept that. What I do not accept is that there is any correlation between intelligence and suffering.



To say that some creature is fair game for killing for the sole reason that it has a lesser intelligence is the same logic that would have us kill the mentally disabled for being a 'drain on society'. It's craziness.
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#22 Old 01-03-2009, 11:57 AM
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Fish are far less intelligent that animals, I accept that. What I do not accept is that there is any correlation between intelligence and suffering.



Fish are animals.



What evidence do you have for saying they are "far less intelligent"?
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#23 Old 01-03-2009, 03:02 PM
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Fish are animals.



What evidence do you have for saying they are "far less intelligent"?



My apologies, I meant mammals. I do know fish are animals.



Evidence to suggest they are far less intelligent? It's widely known that they have very low intelligence. What proof do you have that sheep are less intelligent than cows? It's self evident, you don't need some scientific study to tell you it, simply observation and understanding.



I'm not advocating eating fish, I'm saying that we shouldn't use some imagined mammal-like intelligence of fish as an argument because you will get blown out of the water.
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#24 Old 01-03-2009, 03:27 PM
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Evidence to suggest they are far less intelligent? It's widely known that they have very low intelligence. What proof do you have that sheep are less intelligent than cows? It's self evident, you don't need some scientific study to tell you it, simply observation and understanding.



In some places it's "widely known" that vegetarians eat fish. To many people it's blindingly obvious that sheep are stupid and bees have hardly any brain function at all. Anecdata does not equal proof. Sheep can remember and recognise the faces of up to 50 other sheep. Bees can distinguish between human letters of the alphabet regardless of font, size or colour, and understand the concepts of symmetry/asymmetry. I can provide references to scientific studies that prove these things, if you want to PM me about it.



This is a link to dozens of scientific studies into fish cognition and 'intelligence', though in my field of study that's a term we use with caution.



While I totally agree that even if an animal is proved to have low intelligence (and I mean proved scientifically, not with no grounds at all) that doesn't mean we should allow it to suffer, I don't accept that fish have low intelligence or that bugs cannot learn or be trained. Seriously, read into the intelligence of fish - it will add more ammo to your arguments when you encounter people that say it's fine to kill fish!
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#25 Old 01-04-2009, 12:38 PM
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In some places it's "widely known" that vegetarians eat fish. To many people it's blindingly obvious that sheep are stupid and bees have hardly any brain function at all. Anecdata does not equal proof. Sheep can remember and recognise the faces of up to 50 other sheep. Bees can distinguish between human letters of the alphabet regardless of font, size or colour, and understand the concepts of symmetry/asymmetry. I can provide references to scientific studies that prove these things, if you want to PM me about it.



This is a link to dozens of scientific studies into fish cognition and 'intelligence', though in my field of study that's a term we use with caution.



While I totally agree that even if an animal is proved to have low intelligence (and I mean proved scientifically, not with no grounds at all) that doesn't mean we should allow it to suffer, I don't accept that fish have low intelligence or that bugs cannot learn or be trained. Seriously, read into the intelligence of fish - it will add more ammo to your arguments when you encounter people that say it's fine to kill fish!



whoa. something learned... +1



Fishing does not only kill fish. We all know that (If you don't belong to 'we all': fishing nets clean the sea ground so that 'no' (I'm using this with caution - someone will come back and tell me that plants are living creatures... you know what I mean) living creature (that includes sharks, dolphins, turtles and whatnot) can survive). What I find to be more important is the dimension of this killing.

I mean, yes, because of tobacco (needing farmland and firewood) there's an area of twice the size of Dallas freed from wood every year only in africa, yes, the cows in south america are one of the biggest climate killers (fart-gas), yes, the rainforest which is the lung of the planet, providing 30% of the oxygen for the whole world, is being burnt down in huge amounts for that, yes, the industries behind those two, meat- and tobaccoindustry do make every attempt of willing people of human humans worthless and destroy the work and effort of years,

but

if the fishing goes on like today, there will be NONE left in less than 40 years (WHO).

And that's ridiculous.



I'm scuba diver, I really don't want that to happen.



Not to talk of the farming which is against all ethics anyway.



I can go deeper into that last one about the farming if anyone would like me to...
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#26 Old 01-04-2009, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by WorzelGummidge View Post

In some places it's "widely known" that vegetarians eat fish. To many people it's blindingly obvious that sheep are stupid and bees have hardly any brain function at all. Anecdata does not equal proof. Sheep can remember and recognise the faces of up to 50 other sheep. Bees can distinguish between human letters of the alphabet regardless of font, size or colour, and understand the concepts of symmetry/asymmetry. I can provide references to scientific studies that prove these things, if you want to PM me about it.



This is a link to dozens of scientific studies into fish cognition and 'intelligence', though in my field of study that's a term we use with caution.



While I totally agree that even if an animal is proved to have low intelligence (and I mean proved scientifically, not with no grounds at all) that doesn't mean we should allow it to suffer, I don't accept that fish have low intelligence or that bugs cannot learn or be trained. Seriously, read into the intelligence of fish - it will add more ammo to your arguments when you encounter people that say it's fine to kill fish!





OoooOOoooh spiffy! Thanks for the link!

I always found the general term, "intelligence" to be pretty sketchy. I can't see any good definition for it. Is there a generally accepted definition, as relates to something objectively measurable? I mean, there are many types of skill sets, many of which involve more than just muscle memory. Valuing one over the other (in humans or animals) just seems silly.
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#27 Old 01-04-2009, 04:35 PM
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OoooOOoooh spiffy! Thanks for the link!

I always found the general term, "intelligence" to be pretty sketchy. I can't see any good definition for it. Is there a generally accepted definition, as relates to something objectively measurable? I mean, there are many types of skill sets, many of which involve more than just muscle memory. Valuing one over the other (in humans or animals) just seems silly.



I would think it depends on the context it's being used it, as human intelligence can supposedly be measured. I only deal with animals, and there is no standard definition of intelligence. It's a lot better to use "cognitive ability" or a similar term.



Personally when I think about "intelligence", I think of animal's ability to apply learned information to novel situations. Honeybees for example (I love talking about honeybee cognition!) gather information about their surroundings when they fly from the hive to food sources or on scouting missions. They store this information (i.e. learn). Gould carried out one study where bees were captured en route to a feeding source, relocated some distance away and set free. Providing there were visible landmarks that the sensory modality of bees allowed them to register, such as a hill or tall tree, they could still find their way to the food source. They had not only stored information about their environment, but they had actually applied it in a situation where it helped their survival. If that isn't "intelligence", I don't know what is.
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#28 Old 01-04-2009, 04:38 PM
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I have a fish, and he is my anti-fish eating argument. I love him to bits, and having a fish and eating fish to me, is like having dogs and eating dogs. its just creepy
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#29 Old 01-04-2009, 04:44 PM
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When I first became vegan the only thing i couldn't stop craving was the seafood for about 3 months.then finally something in my head said you've avoided it all this time passing by red lobster and thinking of those flavors until now the actual physical act in inserting a dead fish or a main lobster who had to squeal to its death tossed in boiling water trying desperately to crawl out.the legs of the crab it all became very black and white to me .It was an animal who breathed moved reproduced had social order among its kind and created a nice balance in the oceans ecosystem in order for us to enjoy seeing nature at its fullest and not watching them die in nets and other bigger fish getting torn up my it such as the very intelligent dolphin and so on.I actually gag at the thought of seafood now but i guess its like deprogramming yourself from the social glamorisation of meat in any form just turn on the TV and there is a spinning slab of dead cow smothered is anything and everything to mask the death..

I'm so happy i found this thread I always tried to explain it to some "vegetarians" about this cause you cant just pick and choose which animals your going to love and respect and which ones don't count.. an animal is an animal .

PS: my mom was one of the fish eaters / vegetarian it took her a while but she finally understood and is also not happy about the way those animals die either .. it takes time for some people to let go of old habits..i think so no offence to anyone..

much love M~
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#30 Old 01-04-2009, 04:55 PM
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MAybe I'm misunderstanding this statement you posted.. but in a way your saying living things that are "stupid" deserve to die and that's ok?

well then humans should get rid of a few of their own people with handicaps or a person with Brian damage or a child with autism.. oh that cow was smart the other born retarded let kill the stupid one?? oh no this way of thinking is very manipulative in order to do something you like and justify it to displace guilt.Its a kill murder is murder.

No offence .just making a point that kinda disturbed me
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