Crash Test Vegetarian

Vegan to Omnivore outreach program

But why don’t you eat fish?

on July 15, 2011

I get this question, a LOT.   It’s usually comes after I try to explain what made me first go vegan in the first place – which was primarily for health reasons (Liver and Gallbladder problems).  Clearly, there are many reasons to be vegan or vegetarian, but this was the tip of the iceburg of my journey.

Around the time I started struggling with the idea of avoiding animal fats, my husband got a copy of Popular Science – a green issue.   

We’ve often discussed the ecological  implications of many of the choices we, as humans, make.   One thing in particular that made me especially angry about society is our affinity for waste.  It’s more important to people that shelves be full to overflowing and that coolers be packed with more meat than the people in that region will use than it is being realistic about our consumption.  

Perhaps if people were actually required to pre-order meat we would reduce waste and consumption – but the fact of the matter is, we live in a microwave society – we expect meat to be dyed a certain color so it looks fresh, neatly wrapped, and ready and available for the picking at any whim.

So what does this have to do with fish and that issue of Popular Science?  In the issue, they discussed the growing number of  dead zones in the ocean.   While the article didn’t directly address the impact of overfishing, but rather our chemical dependence, it got me to thinking and eventually lead me to making a choice to do my best to reduce my impact in all areas of my life.  

Me eliminating my meat and fish consumption isn’t going to change the world, but I will do my part.

In her blog, Robbi shares an inspiring and positive vision she has for change.   I think it’s a beautiful representation of the view we can take on such a morbid situation.

4 responses to “But why don’t you eat fish?

  1. Izzy, I totally agree with your sentiments. I too stopped eating fish (just before I became vegan about 12 years ago) because I didn’t want to be complicit in over-fishing. Our personal changes ARE important. Indeed, I think the best way to encourage other people to change is to model it ourselves!

  2. E says:

    Hi Izzy,

    Thank you for visiting my blog! Yours is great, too (can’t wait to go through these recipes on the sidebar.. mm, Potato Leek soup…), and as a longtime-vegetarian/mostly-vegan, I get this question all the time, as well! However, as my lifestyle is primarily based on my love of (and consequent refusal to eat) animals, I find myself frequently having to explain my views on fish sentience and such.. Next time, I think I’ll bring up the environmental implications which, though I have researched and read about, I usually forget on the fly. Perhaps I’ll sound like less of a fish-loving loon this way.
    Anyway, awesome blog!

    Kind wishes,

    • Izzy says:

      I try to keep my love out of it, because most people cannot connect with what I’m saying. “How could you not eat cows? They just stand there waiting to be eaten!”

      But when people try to say something like, “How could you not eat cows, just look at the pollution they create,” it’s easy to argue the point… but more to the point, I think my health issues were, in the end, just a good excuse to follow my heart, something I should have done all along. But there’s something that just feels foolish about telling your family you’ve just become a vegetarian or vegan after you’ve finally just learned how to cook the perfect turkey… it’s almost as if people think it will just be a phase.

      • Becky says:

        I sooo know what you mean about the keeping ‘love’ out of it, as people don’t listen if they think you’re ‘soft’: it’s frustrating though, as more than love, it’s compassion and understanding of animals as beings, with needs not dissimilar to our own that largely drives me to be V*gan (currently Vegan with occasional free range eggs rarely).
        It frustrates me that people routinely view animals as objects/possessions without interests of their own. Even down to fish! Just because they live in the sea, an environment so foreign to our own experiences, and they can’t make audible noise, doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain, suffocate and get crushed in terrible ways when fished etc. Many fish have quite complex social behaviours and intelligences perfectly evolved for the environment they live in, but because they are so different to us, it seems to make it all right to skin and gut them alive and so on! (I’m not a crazy anarchist, but interested in animal behaviour and the fact that there’s not really much that separates us from them in reality).
        Also the by-catch issue and terrible environmental consequences of overfishing, dredging etc worry me greatly, and all these things jump into my head when yet another person asks me if I eat fish!!! Guh!

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