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I am not exactly a new vegetarian; It's been almost 10 months for me. However, I am still, to some extent, deciding what my "position" is on some issues. Although I am in full agreement with anyone who says dairy is terrible, and am slowly weaning myself off cheese, I must admit that I am having a hard time convincing myself that eating shelled mollusks - clams, abalone, scallops, mussels, etc. - is wrong. I've been doing a lot of research, and it seems to me that an "animal" with no brain, face, or means of independent locomotion is not really an animal at all. IMO, this more accurately describes a plant. The animals(?) I am referring to have only one defense mechanism, which is to snap shut (or, in the case of abalone, cling more tightly to a rock), and everything I've read suggests that this is simply a reflex. Doesn't that make shelled mollusks more similar to, say, a venus flytrap than an animal? Also, shelled mollusks do not reproduce through intercourse of ANY kind; they simply release their sperm/eggs into the ocean, and eventually it comes into contact with other sperm/eggs, and falls to the ocean floor to grow. I am eager to find out if anyone can find a solid reason why it is inhumane to eat this type of creature, since I certainly don't want to cause suffering to ANY animal (but I really like scallops!). Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me with an answer.
 

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Well Peter Singer, famous ethicist agrees it is a grey area (if they can suffer or not) and thus plays it safe by not eating them.<br><br><br><br>
I'm not sure about your research, but I do believe they have independent locomotion (I had a pet clam once and it did move with its foot). Is the important question to you whether they suffer or not? If so, what are your sources of information indicating one way or the other? I'm not sure anyone knows for sure. They do have nervous systems.<br><br><br><br>
There are also environmental reasons for not eating them. I'm sure someone here can provide links to info on that. Ultimately it is up to you, of course.
 

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Thanks so much for the answer! My research has basically been limited to Googling "scallops" or what have you, although I've probably read forty online encyclopedia entries and scientific papers.<br><br>
Yes, in response to your question, my objective in avoiding meat is to avoid suffering. I like the health benefits, but rarely do anything based on the desire to be healthier (I smoke, for one thing). And really, I couldn't have cared less about the environment before going veg, although my attitude has certainly shifted since I made the connection between earth=animals' houses.<br><br>
I would really appreciate other people's opinions on this subject: suffering, envoronmental issues, and all the rest.<br><br>
PS - NOTHING I read said clams have feet! Really? (I'm not actually second-guessing you; I'm just totally shocked!)
 

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A mollusk's foot is basically it's whole body. They move around a bit on their own. Probably the only sea animals that really dont have any independent locomotion at all are corals, polyps and sponges. They move a little tiny bit but they're pretty much attached to a rock.
 

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There are a couple threads on here that talk about how many other types of sea animals are hurt in the process of commerically harvesting them. Find the threads/do some research on that, and you see the problem with commercially harvesting any sea life...<br><br><br><br>
I don't know if it's also the case that other animals depend on eating them too...and we may have already depleted their food source with our practices (which means that even if you harvested them yourself you might be harming some other animals). So those are a couple issues to consider...
 

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I suppose it's got to do with the environment. I haven't been able to find much on it, but here:<br><br><br><br>
On environmental effects: <a href="http://www.goveg.com/veganism_environment.asp" target="_blank">http://www.goveg.com/veganism_environment.asp</a> (last few paragraphs)<br><br>
More on trawlers: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trawler" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trawler</a><br><br><br><br>
It seems that farmed mussels cause ill effects as well, like waste runoffs and problems with river flow and water pH.<br><br><br><br>
Here's a nice page with links to mussles: <a href="http://www.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?subnav=faqs" target="_blank">http://www.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?subnav=faqs</a><br><br>
And the mussels page:<br><br><a href="http://www.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?subnav=fishpage&group=Mussels" target="_blank">http://www.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?s...&group=Mussels</a><br><br>
It says they're an "eco best", but does mention dredging. Looks like an interesting site to surf around on.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
And also, if sentience is a significant factor of your dietary decision, consider that cheese isn't sentient. You avoid it because of the effects of its production. Similarly, the negetive effects of bivalve cultivation or harvesting can be avoided whether or not one cares for the welfare of those sea creatures themselves.
 

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<span style="color:#008000;">It depends on why you are vegetarian. If you are vegetarian because you think it's wrong to eat animals, then you shouldn't eat shelled mollusks because they are a part of the animal kingdom. Also, marine mollusks tend to fall into the general culinary definition of "seafood", and if you consume seafood you aren't a vegetarian, you are a pescetarian.<br><br><br><br>
I generally am hesitant to enter into these types of "definition" discussions, but in this case it seemed a little more cut and dried to me, personally.<br><br>
It ultimately boils down to you doing what you think is right. Any degree of vegetarianism helps, on the bottom line.</span>
 

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Because if you eat these animals, then you don't get to use the precious moniker of "Vegetarian" and instead have to use the much less cool title of "Pescatarian".<br><br><br><br>
I agree that it's a pretty gray area. Although for me it's a very light-gray area and I wouldn't think negatively of anyone who choose to consume plant-like animals. It makes much more sense to me to draw an ethical-line at animals we know are capable of suffering and of experiencing life--say, vertabrates.<br><br><br><br>
Of course you could find environmental reasons for avoiding anything, and there's the arguement that other animals are harmed in their harvesting... but that arguement always resonates the same tone as the arguement of field animals being harmed in the harvesting of crops. Most vegetarians aren't concerned with field harvesting, so I don't know why they would suddenly be concerned with sea harvesting.<br><br><br><br>
Probably not the answer you were looking for. I don't eat mullosks or any sea food because that's gross. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpickell</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Of course you could find environmental reasons for avoiding anything, and there's the arguement that other animals are harmed in their harvesting... but that arguement always resonates the same tone as the arguement of field animals being harmed in the harvesting of crops.</div>
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I think that scraping the ocean floor is a bit more damaging to the animals there, when that is the way that they are harvested.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpickell</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Because if you eat these animals, then you don't get to use the precious moniker of "Vegetarian" and instead have to use the much less cool title of "Pescatarian".<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"></div>
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Maybe someone could come up with a really cool name for "pescatarians" who only eat bivalves.
 

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The animal family contains vertabrates and invertabrates. There are Lots of areas where animal and plant behavior might overlap. Family and species designations were simply created for taxonomic reasons. Certain Plants react to stimulii in similar ways to animals. Orchids, a very ancient plant form live arborially and "walk" from place to place. Mollusks are made of the same muscle protiens as cows and dolphins. The muscles secrete chemicals, and react to other chemicals just like human muscle. The idea that they dont have a face is pedestrian as they obviously have some sort of intake apparatus used for the collection of nutrients. They eat different things so they have different types of mouths and eyes. Eyes are simply differentiated clusters of cells which react to "visual" sensations. Small eyeless fish and lizards live in caves and do not have visible eyes or have eyes atropied through disuse. Rays have simply odd eye pits-- very primitive eyes. Different fish and animals have only buds of photo sensitive material. I think the main message here with the OP is that of homocentricity--or perhaps mammelcentricity. Not all sensory organs, or cellular structures, or environmental requirements are exactly like land mammles. You could take the argument further and say it is Okay to kill and eat mice because they are not birds. Life is simply a kind of chemical reaction. A good course in biology might end your confusion.
 

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Filter feeders aren't that attractive of a meal option anyway, if you ask me. Due to the large volumes of water they have to process to gather nutrients, they also accumulate pollutants like heavy metals and pathogens.<br><br><br><br>
While they're definitely animals, comparing eating a mollusc to eating a mouse, which clearly has a central nervous system is pushing it a tad, since the OP is specifically interested in their capacity to suffer.<br><br><br><br>
You could pick up a copy of "Invertebrates" by Brusca & Brusca or just have a look at it by running a "search inside book" on Amazon for an overview of molluscs and possibly "Biology" by Campbell & Reece, which will also have a definition of what an animal is (for good measure). The section on cephalopods won't be relevant, btw.
 

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phylum Mollusca<br><br>
Molluscatarian?<br><br><br><br>
of course that would include squid and snails.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Class Bivalvia<br><br>
Bivalvitarian?<br><br><br><br>
there ya go!<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
...of course limiting your spread of compassion to those that have a defined and observable ability to suffer (bleeds red and screams when injured) has its problems.<br><br>
Will you eat the dog who was hit by a car and is now braindead - being kept alive by a machine? He obviously can no longer suffer, and eating him would not cause any harm.<br><br>
What about the cheeseburger about to be thrown away? as it is about to be tossed, eating it would no cause any further harm.<br><br><br><br>
at any rate, every step further is a blessing to animalkind and I wish you luck on your path of bivalvitarianism.
 

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I heard that lots of dolphins, sea turtles, etc. get caught in the nets used to catch seafood, and are killed.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>troub</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
...of course limiting your spread of compassion to those that have a defined and observable ability to suffer (bleeds red and screams when injured) has its problems.<br><br>
Will you eat the dog who was hit by a car and is now braindead - being kept alive by a machine? He obviously can no longer suffer, and eating him would not cause any harm.<br><br><b>What about the cheeseburger about to be thrown away? as it is about to be tossed, eating it would no cause any further harm.</b><br></div>
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Which is freeganism, certainly a more ethically sound way of living, but one I couldn't do. My utmost respect for any freegans out there.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>troub</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
Class Bivalvia<br><br>
Bivalvitarian?<br></div>
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<br><br><br>
Come on - you're more creative than that.
 

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I don't see why pescatarian isn't a suitable description for this type of diet?<br><br><br><br>
If they want to seperate themselves from those pescatarians who eat all kinds of sealife including vertabrates then perhaps they could be "strict pescatarians" or "ethical pescatarians". Personally I still like the term Trent Steele coined, "Shmegan", the I'll eat what I want to eat for the reasons I want to have. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
But, just because pescatarians get a LOT of slack from vegetarians does not necessarily mean a diet such as the one the OP described is any less ethical than a vegetarian or vegan diet.
 

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<span style="color:#008000;">I agree, kpickell. The only issue I have with pescetarians (other than the fact that I keep fish as companion animals) is when they try to say they are veg*n. Otherwise, I'm all cool with pescetarians. It's healther overall than being full-on omni, and the amount of suffering in general caused by the dietary choice is greatly reduced.<br><br><br><br>
Fish was the one meat that I had a slight difficulty giving up. However, that was like almost 18 years ago, so I barely remember it.<br><br>
I could never eat them now- they are so beautiful.</span>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>~Brandon</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><span style="color:#008000;">I agree, kpickell. The only issue I have with pescetarians (other than the fact that I keep fish as companion animals) is when they try to say they are veg*n. Otherwise, I'm all cool with pescetarians. It's healther overall than being full-on omni, and the amount of suffering in general caused by the dietary choice is greatly reduced.<br><br><br><br>
Fish was the one meat that I had a slight difficulty giving up. However, that was like almost 18 years ago, so I barely remember it.<br><br>
I could never eat them now- they are so beautiful.</span></div>
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After Kafka became an ardent vegetarian, he was watching the fish at an aquarium and is quoted as saying, "Now I can at last look at you in peace, I don't eat you anymore." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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