It’s okay to eat fish; ‘Cause they don’t have any feelings –Nirvana
Back in the early 1990s, when rock band Nirvana was at the threshold stage of their colossal but short career, this particular sentiment on the closing song of their hit album “Nevermind” had a certain resonance with the ethical grunge set. I recall, it was often intoned and repeated by fans and those who had a hunger for fish tacos but didn’t want to take the ethical hit of eating an animal with actual feelings. The factual basis of this claim, that fish are devoid of feelings, is shoddy science/research at best, but was faithfully perpetuated by hungry grunge acolytes looking to latch onto some sort of lazy epicurean philosophy.
I was reminded of this refrain when I stumbled upon Christopher Cox’s ethical musing on whether or not it was acceptable to eat oysters, particularly for vegans. I know what you are thinking, isn’t the dictionary definition of vegan being someone who refrains from consuming any animal product? Well, by definition yes, but Cox breaks down his personal vegan rationale to two distinct points: “Raising animals for food 1) destroys the planet and 2) causes those animals to suffer.”
While this may not exactly define every vegan’s (or vegetarian‘s) raison d’etre, it does seem to provide a cursory perspective for a somewhat stringent lifestyle. So as these rules apply, the humble oyster gets a pass, and is therefore afforded a place on the vegan dinner table next to the marinated tempeh and grilled zucchini.