You want to know why vegans don't eat fish? Then you've come to the right place. For one person the question may be almost silly - but for another it is an important food for thought. I have found that many people - myself included in the past - do not consider fish to be sentient, intelligent creatures. That's probably why we kill about 2.7 trillion marine animals worldwide every year, and "only" 60 billion land animals in comparison.₁ Both numbers are frighteningly high - and thought-provoking.
In this article, I would now like to show you the reasons why vegans do not eat fish and basically abstain from consuming marine animals. Let's go!
10 reasons why vegans do not eat fish
Many people are pescetarians - that is, they eat no animal foods, except fish. The impact on the environment is, compared to a generally meat-loving diet, of course much more environmentally friendly. Of course, this does nothing for the fish themselves.
Perhaps with the following reasons why vegans don't eat fish, I can make you aware of the ways in which each of us can make an even greater difference for animal welfare and our planet Earth.
1. because fish do not want to die
Pisces can feel pain and remember things from the past - this has been scientifically proven.₂ When they are attacked or otherwise sense danger, they try to escape. And when they get stranded or pulled ashore, they instinctively try to get back into the water. That alone shows that fish don't want to die. (who does?!)
2. because fish are sentient, intelligent creatures
We no longer have to argue about whether fish feel pain or not. Fish have a central nervous system - just like cows, pigs, chickens and us humans. They are extremely intelligent and can build trust with other creatures and exhibit communal behavior. Fish feel pain. We just can't hear their pain because they suffer silently. At least too quiet for our ears.
This knowledge is a major motive for vegans not to eat fish. But assuming they could not feel pain, that would not make our reasons for eating them any more morally defensible.
3. because overfishing of the oceans is an extreme environmental problem
The Overfishing of the seas means the excessive decline of fish stocks and other marine species in the world's oceans. About 58.1 percent of the world's fish stocks are considered maximally exploited and 31.4 percent are considered overfished.₃ Overfished simply means that more fish are taken than can be "regrown" through natural reproduction. This challenge is one of the biggest environmental problems of our time and is a major reason why vegans do not eat fish.
4. because fish come from factory farming
Like every other form of Factory farming, industrial fish farming is also extremely resource-intensive. Fish eat mostly fish meal, which is made from other fish. Therefore, the fish from aquacultures also has no species-preserving effect - on the contrary: to get this fish on the plate, other fish have to die.
For example, they are kept in sea cages or concrete pools. Stress and deformations are the result of this tight, low-movement posture.
5. because the killing methods are brutal
Some fish are simply left on dry land or alive on Ice cream so that they suffocate in agony for hours. Other killing methods include the electrical flow, the Headshot, the Salt bath or Carbon dioxide.₄ There is simply no "humane" way to take the life of someone who does not want to die.
Others are even crushed under the weight of their fellow species before arriving on land. Unfortunately, it is usually not just the one species that ends up in the nets.
6. because fishing causes more victims
Strictly speaking, of course, not a single fish would have to die for us humans. Quite simply because fish consumption is not essential for our survival. But if we want to eat tuna, for example, other marine species have to die as well. According to WWF, about 40 percent of the world's fish catch is bycatch. Every year, 300,000 dolphins and small cetaceans, 250,000 hawksbill and leatherback turtles, and 300,000 seabirds alone die unintentionally. The bycatch amounts to around 38 million tons of unintentionally caught marine life.₅
In addition to the bycatch, the fishing method of the dragged along the seabed also demands Trawling more deaths. Whoever wants to eat a fish therefore accepts not only a single, but several victims.
7. because fish is not automatically healthy
Yes, fish is rich in high-quality proteins and health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids. However, that does not make it healthy per se. Because the use of Antibiotics is commonplace in aquaculture fish farming - as is the residual in meat. In addition, fish is often contaminated with pollutants such as Heavy metals encumbered.
For most vegans, however, the thought of eating something that has suffered for hours to the point of death is likely to play a significant role in their decision not to eat fish.
8. because the MSC label is not a guarantee
The MSC seal is actually supposed to certify products from sustainable fisheries and give consumers more certainty when making sustainable purchasing decisions. But in a study, the organization "BirdLife International" found only 3 of 23 certified operations examined to be "good".₆ Only one of the fisheries was able to demonstrate that bycatch rates were declining as defined by the MSC seal.
Tip: To give you a clearer picture of the background of the MSC label, I can offer you this YouTube documentary recommend. And if you're interested in more reasons to go vegan, check out these vegan documentaries inside.
9. because we do not have to eat fish to survive
At least the consumption of fish is not essential for our survival in the western world. Essentially, there are 4 reasons for us to eat fish. Taste, Habit, Convenience and Tradition. None of them justifies the death of an innocent animal - whether fish, cow or dog. However, there are very well people on this planet who depend on fishing and consumption of fish both financially and as part of their diet.
So vegans do without the consumption of fish on the one hand, because the necessity is not given. But also out of respect for the people who are currently really dependent on it.
10. because there are plant-based alternatives
Many vegans also like to avoid fish because the table is richly covered with delicious, similar-tasting alternatives. Here are some examples for you, which are already available in most supermarkets:
- Fish sticks from soy proteins
- Sea salads and caviar Algae based
- Sushi from rice, seaweed and vegetables
- Salmon from pickled carrots
I've tried most of these plant-based fish alternatives out of curiosity. The fish sticks were shockingly similar to their animal counterparts in terms of taste, appearance and chewing sensation.
Can you think of any other vegan alternatives for fish? Then feel free to drop me a comment with your ideas!
Vegans don't eat fish because they don't have to
We are taking their lives, even though we don't have to. And thereby endanger the planet on which we live. All for the taste or luxury of eating fish. I don't blame myself because I ate fish for 30 years of my life without questioning it. I lacked the knowledge about the background. But now I know better - and can behave accordingly. We all can't help but rethink - and see fish for what they really are: sentient, emotional and intelligent beings, like you and me.
Do you have any questions or suggestions about this article on why vegans don't eat fish? Then, as always, feel free to write me a comment.
Stay animal-friendly and sustainable,
PS.: Look with pleasure also in my contribution about it, Why vegans do not eat honey, over!
₁ Earthling Ed: Is there actually an ethical reason not to eat fish, YouTube, Aug. 24, 2020, web, Aug. 25, 2020 at 10:50 a.m., in: http://y2u.be/y8Nj1-YZDlc.
₂ F. Jabr: It's Official: Fish Feel Pain (as of January 2018), available at https://t1p.de/xmab. [25.08.2020].
₃ H. Vesper: What we need to do to save the oceans (as of April 2018), available at https://t1p.de/ohho. [25.08.2020].
₄ DU UND DAS TIER (issue 01/2011): Aquacultures - killing fish, available at https://t1p.de/zm9n. [25.08.2020].
₅ WWF Germany: BEIFANG - EIN TRAURIGES THEMA, available at https://t1p.de/stmn. [25.08.2020].
₆ BirdLife International: Bycatch and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), available at https://t1p.de/49nz. [25.08.2020].