A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

“From the oyster to the eagle…”

with 3 comments

A question posed to me on formspring about oysters…

Animal rights activist Peter Singer made an exception for eating oysters. Oysters, he said, could be harvested in an environmentally sustainable way, and because of the lack of a central nervous system, were incapable of suffering. What do you think?

I think it’s fabulously interesting to mull over (that’s the inner biologist in me talking), but I think I will still abstain.

I actually love slate.com and originally read the findings you mention on oysters here: http://www.slate.com/id/2248998/

Peter Singer actually began to make an exception for oysters, but he then retracted it saying, “one cannot with any confidence say that these creatures do feel pain, so one can equally have little confidence in saying that they do not feel pain.”

While I wouldn’t judge a vegan who chose to eat local oysters and agree that it makes more ecological and environmental sense to eat oysters (well, for the record, I am also not in the habit of judging vegetarians or omnivores about their dietary habits either) as opposed to buying Field Roast from Seattle or maybe even Tofurky (more local to me, but still highly packaged), I am not interested in crossing that line. In that same vein, I try to limit my purchases of Field Roast, Tofurky, nonlocal tofu and even produce (I am growing quite a lot in my new and extensive garden). I love Dave’ Killer Bread not just because it’s yummy and healthy, but also because it’s made locally.

We humans are quite amazing animals and we constantly are discovering more and more ways we’re not much more sophisticated and/or intelligent than all other animals, as well as discovering how much more sophisticated and intelligent many animals are compared to what we thought… Because of this, it’s easier for me to just cut out animal products altogether so that I am not worried about the potential unknown, that I unknowingly caused harm to and/or inflicted suffering on another animal. I recently even gave up honey–yes, yes, the horror! I have been vegan for over 6 years and yet I didn’t feel inspired to give up honey until recently. But, there you go, that’s just it. Ideas change, motivations change, I am definitely open to changing my mind when presented with new evidence or other philosophies, which probably contributes to my lack of judging other peoples’ diets.

My personal motivations for being vegan involve minimizing unnecessary harm and suffering of my fellow animals, minimizing damage to the environment/ecosystems from which my food sources come, and minimizing my carbon footprint. So, I am still not interested in eating oysters because I wonder if we can be totally sure the oysters don’t mind. I just rather not run the risk that I have caused another animal harm without realizing it and I am doing quite alright without eating oysters.

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Written by lovemotionstory

July 14, 2010 at 8:48 am

3 Responses

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  1. So I should refrain from offering you some of my neighborhood-local mead from now on? But I just finished a 6-month aging of mead gathered from beehives in the SE Metro area!

    Drat.

    Dave

    July 14, 2010 at 10:13 am

    • Dave, Well, yeah. When I realized that, no, I won’t add oysters to my diet just because they don’t have central nervous systems and we don’t perceive them as “in pain,” I knew that I really shouldn’t be eating honey. Also, it didn’t really seem like you’d be offering me anything any time soon, so this comment is quite a surprise.

      lovemotionstory

      July 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

  2. For me (not vegetarian/vegan) the issue with shellfish is that most have to be boiled alive to be consumed. Central nervous system or no, the words “boiled alive” aren’t words I like to combine with “and now I’m eating it”. Not to mention the history that goes into the discovery of how to cook them, and the demand.

    Zeo

    July 14, 2010 at 11:04 am


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