Is It Hypocritical? Fishkeeping And Vegetarians

Discussion in 'Fishkeeping Hot Topics' started by MaddieTaylah, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. MaddieTaylah

    MaddieTaylahWell Known MemberMember

    The other day I got into a debate with a vegan.

    This person thought it was hypocritical to be so passionate about the proper care of fish or any animal for that matter & yet not be at least vegetarian if not vegan.

    I initially thought that this was not true, I brought to her attention that if a person only eats free range & organic meats and that as long as the animals which are eventually slaughtered for human consumption have happy & healthy lives prior to their deaths & their lives would be taken painlessly, then a person could still be an omnivore and care for all animals.

    This person then brought to my attention that the animals still suffer because "free range" is not what it seems. Upon doing my own research for only a short period of time, I couldn't help but agree with this person about "free range" still being cruel. For example, I found out that with chickens bred for producing eggs, all the baby male chickens are often ground up whilst still alive as they have no use in the egg industry. This horrified me & I haven't eaten an egg since.

    Still I persisted with my argument that if you are going to buy a pet whether it is a dog or a goldfish, you should provide it with the best possible care because you have accepted that responsibility.

    This person basically repeated themselves & said that a person could not care for animals & eat them. This person told me to question what I am saying & I have. Furthermore, this person discussed the fact that people are selective in that they would not eat a dog because it is considered a pet & not food.

    If I could get others opinions on this that would be great, as I feel like I need some perspective because after this debate I do feel as though it is somewhat hypocritical to care for your fish so well & be worried about them, yet eat fish.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  2. NavigatorBlack

    NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    Simply consider that one of the major causes for fish extinction in Amazonia is industrial soy farming. At one point, cattle farming drove deforestation - now soy is causing the leveling of forests and the killing of rivers. It seems that no matter what we do as humans, there are far too many of us, and we leave a large, destructive footprint.
    We are complicated creatures, and we can play with our food. Veganism is a lifestyle option some choose, and good for them. I try to choose moderation and minimizing the damage I do. We all should consider the impact of our lifestyles on the world around us, and whether we focus on individual animals, or not destroying habitat that supports living creatures, we can just try to do our paltry best.
  3. Hill Dweller

    Hill DwellerWell Known MemberMember

    Veganism can be pretty in-your-face especially when it comes to the animal rights factory farming stuff. Some folks are a bit strident about it. I'm happy for them they have found such deep meaning in this part of their life, but it can feel a bit like having a religion pushed on you.

    I think you can only try to do your best to make informed and ethical choices you feel ok about (eg choosing eggs from a niche farm where you know their practices, or pork that doesn't use sow stalls). It's hard to know a product's full supply chain to try not to participate in for example the soy issue mentioned above. It's an exhausting and time consuming and frankly not very delicious way to live to buy only the most ethical of ethical foods.

    I think you can do the right thing to give the animals in your care the best life you can, and make some informed choices on food where you can. You are probably better off writing to government representatives and joining campaigns such as Greenpeace's palm oil campaign to make policy changes or fund research than necessarily exhausting yourself chasing perfect supermarket purchases which is a bit of a drop in the ocean.

    In good news there was some new research published in the last few weeks regarding sexing chickens before they hatch (or maybe it was somehow preventing the eggs developing male?) anyways the upshot was the male chicks won't be born and need to be destroyed.

    Try to feel better about the good life you are giving your animals. You can only do what you can do.
  4. moonraingirl

    moonraingirlValued MemberMember

    This is a great question. It has been haunting me as well.

    In my opinion, you have the responsibility to care for the pets you own. It is still better than neglecting them or being an omnivore without any pets. Living without any animals would make you even less sensitive to their lives and needs. It would alienate you from nature even more. In my opinion, owning animals and doing your best to provide them excellent care is ethically and emotionally better than not having any. Of course, we are talking about common pets that are not a product of illegal or unethical breeding.

    When it comes to eating meat, you have the choice to choose the most ethical options. Even if they are not ideal, just your thought and effort counts ethically. Unfortunately, eveyrthing we do today hurts nature and/or people.

    We waste and pollute water, create tremendous amount of waste, pollute air by cars. And I don't want to get into politics, but it may be a good question to ask one self why does US have one of the cheapest oil prices in the world. Most of what we wear and use was produced in sweatshops by people who work 16hrs a day for minimal wage and they often have to leave their young children in order to go to work. Our toxic waste from electronics is sent to poor countries where children and women collect precious metals for money. But it is toxic which damages their health. Even electronics that we think is recycled often ends up there.

    Is eating only veggies a solution? Heck, rainforest is destroyed for soy plantations, soil is eroded and depleted more and more every year. It is basically bare nowadays. What do all the pesticides and insecticides do to the environment? Most of plants in the US are GMO. Has your friend read about what Monsanto does to small farmers?

    I could go on and on...
    My point is: everything we do, however hard we try, we can't avoid hurting someone. We can only chose the least damaging ways of doing things. Eating eggs from your local farm or neighbour is far better than eating GMO soy from Monsanto that is grown instead of rainforest.

    I personally do eat animal products. I buy those produced locally and in case of eggs I have an opportunity to buy them from my neighbour who has chickens that run freely in her garden. If you have a house and a yard, you may think about having several of your own chickens or even a goat for milk, if you're brave :) And ask around to see if there are any farmer co-ops or local farmer markets where you can get local and seasonal products.
  5. Lindsay83

    Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    Hmmm ... well, I'm vegetarian/vegan - I don't consume dairy at home, but as I enjoy white coffee, I will have milk if I'm visiting relatives, and vegan options in restaurants/cafes etc are still fairly thin on the ground here, so while i'll choose the vegan option over the veggie one, if available, I don't describe myself as a strict vegan. I have 2 dogs - they still have a meaty diet, because I refuse to subject them to my lifestyle choice. So if you're hypercritical for keeping fish and eating meat/fish - what does that make me?!

    What I wasn't prepared for, is the sheer amount of upset I caused by going veggie. Not because I did what that vegan did to you, but because as soon as I said I was vegetarian, it was as if I called everyone else in my family, a murdering meat eater with blood personally on their hands. I hadn't. It was my choice, for my reasons, and about my lifestyle. It wasn't about anyone else.

    I've had people apologise to me - literally saying "sorry, Lindsay, but I like my meat", (fine - good for you ... what has that got to do with me?) or "I think such-and-such child will be vegetarian because she doesn't eat a lot of meat now". (If she does, great. If she doesn't, fine. Not my child, not my problem. If she does, I'll be happy to help in any way I can), or my SIL, "I'd be vegetarian, but I must admit, I like the taste of meat" or, people like my dad, "still vegetarian, then?" ( just ... what?. o_O )

    The fact is, I don't care what that makes me - and as long as you're happy with your dietary and lifestyle choices, it's nobody else's business whether or not you eat meat/fish, wear fur and carry a crocodile-skin bag while keeping fish and worrying about their health and well-being. The only one you have to answer to is yourself. That is exactly why I became vegetarian/vegan. I was making excuses for my own dietary choices - to myself. That, Imho, is always unacceptable.

    We all have a responsibility to do our best to look after the environment, and each other. The cheapest cuts of meat are most likely from factory farmed animals/livestock, which are kept in god-awful conditions. Go to your local farm - see how they keep their livestock. Are they outdoor reared/bred/kept? Do dairy cows still have their calves after 2 days? Buy locally, ideally from farm shops, and/or local butcher's, and don't be afraid to ask questions about where your meat/milk/butter/eggs, etc, came from.

    You are ultimately responsible for what you put into your body. You have a right to know where your food as come from, how it was reared/kept and how it died.

    And what you eat is entirely separate from your ethics as a pet keeper
  6. allllien

    allllienWell Known MemberMember

    Exactly, it's a choice, a personal choice and one that shouldn't be preached like a religion (nor should any religion be preached lol). Each to their own, you're caring for animals, that does not make you a monster because you eat meat -you're a human being after all, and guess what humans are? omnivores.. It's a bit like saying well my dog can survive without meat, so I'm not going to feed my dog meat.. Meat is natural for that species, just as it is for humans. Primates eat meat too, and certainly don't kill it humanely.. That's not to say we shouldn't, we as humans farm animals for food and so it should be our responsibility to properly care for and kill humanely, I know it doesn't always happen that way in the meat industry, but standards continue to change the more the processes are exposed. Not eating meat won't stop the trade or cruelty etc, but if it's your choice not to eat meat it's simply that -your choice :)

    I must say most vegans annoy me though, because most don't know how to keep their choices to themselves and seem to think if they preach their choices enough, everyone will stop eating meat and animal products and all the animals will be free and happy and the world will be filled with rainbows and sunshine.. But it wont, lol.
  7. Punkin

    PunkinWell Known MemberMember

    I have the same issues as you did. People got indignant with me when they found out I would choose vegetarian over meat. I'm not 100% vegetarian, as I'll have a small portion of meat at holiday gatherings, but mainly stick to meat free options. I am also very torn by this as well. I try to do the best I can.
  8. chromedome52

    chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

    Threads like this remind me of a story told mostly by us rednecks:

    A man is driving down a country road, and pulls into a farmer's driveway when his car overheats. He goes to ask the farmer for some water, and while they're talking, he notices a large hog with only three legs. He asks the farmer why the hog only has three legs.
    "Well, that hog chased off some wild dogs that were harassing my chickens. He also came into the house and woke me and the wife when it caught fire. And he lets me know when strangers come around."
    The man was impressed, and he asked, "But how did he lose that leg?"
    The farmer answered, "Well, an animal like that, you don't eat him all at once!"

    This is the relationship of mankind with animals. I keep fish that are meant to be in aquaria, and I eat fish that are meant to be eaten. Rarely do the two come together like that hog. Vegetarians are not the same as vegans, but I don't care about either one so long as they don't try to convert me. That's not going to happen.
  9. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I am vegetarian but not vegan. I would like to be vegan but it is very difficult to avoid things like milk and eggs.

    I think whatever you eat you can help. For example someone who eats meat can try to only be meat that has been kept and killed humanely. Someone who drinks milk can try to only buy organic milk and so on.
  10. Lindsay83

    Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    Organic dairy products only refer to the way the livestock is raised - i.e., without unnecessary AB use, fed a certified organic diet, etc. It doesn't stop farmers from removing the calves soon after birth. Males calves are usually culled, although Soil Association are taking measures to reduce, or eliminate such deaths:

    Organic Cows

    At home, I use oat milk (Alpro or Oat Dream) Alpro Soya yogurt, and Pure soya spread.
  11. allllien

    allllienWell Known MemberMember

    Also don't forget that not eating a natural diet (which includes meat) can cause health problems and deficiencies, and can even lead to an early death -to be vegetarian or vegan you need to be very careful about what you eat and do a lot of research etc, because it is not natural for our species to be vegetarian or vegan. It certainly can be done, if done right, but getting it right is the tricky part.
  12. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    First, congratulations to everyone here for being civilised in this very hot topic.
    Maddie, I think you'll find there are many definitions of "free range" here in Aus. I watched a doco recently about Lilydale Chickens, and I think you'd find that their chickens are most definitely free range (in the truest sense of the meaning).

    As to the hypocrisy, that's very subjective and each to their own opinion on the matter. Humans have domesticated animals for eternity. Dogs, cats, fish, snakes, lizards, cows, goats, chickens, birds, plants. As humans, we've found ways for flora and fauna to survive and prosper in areas they are not native. Think of foxes and rabbits in Australia, neither are native species, yet they thrive.

    Over the years, when it comes to keeping animals as pets, humans have determined what is "best" for the animal in captivity. Fish-keeping is a good example, we've figured out appropriate tanks sizes for each species, and even determined that some species are best left in the wild.

    When it comes to proteins (meats), I like to think that there is no waste, as is the case with many African tribes. I won't go into details, but essentially, all animals, including humans need to eat. Some are herbivorous, some are carnivorous, and others are omnivores. As long as we take only what we need (in a humane manner), then I'm ok with it.
  13. NavigatorBlack

    NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    It's an interesting thread.
    I eat some meat, practice moderate destruction and don't think individual choices are as important as we think they are. There are always health issues connected to diet, but lifestyle choices are individual. I respect vegans, and carnivores. I am going to oppress an old dog later this week, by bringing it into my house (no choice offered) since its original owner is too ill to care for it. I breed an extinct in nature fish species because I feel we should have such things to look at. For learning? For guilt? For fun?
    I keep wild caught fish, and breed and distribute them to aquarists I hope will use them to learn about nature.

    What I do aggressively is support non-commercial scientific research, and conservation of habitats. I'm not a scientist in the least, just a working class guy in a city, but I vote carefully, inform myself about conservation initiatives and support the ones I agree with, and support people working to make positive changes.
    I am not wealthy enough to always be able to look at the sources and ethics of my family's food, but when I have choices, I try to make informed ones. I think the ultimate push for improving our situation, habitat and relationship with other species has to be done with other people, and may cost me some individual money. Hey, space aliens could vaporize me tomorrow and I wouldn't matter much in a few weeks. But if I work to get a river cleaned up, well, that carries on and helps other species too.
    I visited Boston on the weekend and I had someone tell me about the water quality of the Charles River, radically improved since the 1960s. It really is amazing how human activity can undo damage and let nature rebound. I know that work was done by scientists, local activists, government agencies and hard working people, and that there are a number of fish species in a once almost barren, polluted river - I really don't care what the people who did that work ate.
  14. oOBlueOo

    oOBlueOoWell Known MemberMember

    Actually, organic is rather unpleasant for the animal. If it gets sick, it can't get medical attention that a non organic animal would.

    I usually buy meat and eggs local. To me, free range is cattle that has a grass field as a pen. Or a chicken that wanders the yard but has a coop to come back too at night. I personally don't care if the animal gets proper vet care when it gets sick.

    Is it hypocritical to eat meat yet love animals? I don't think so. There's certain animals that people don't see as food. But if the food animals have a good life prior to slaughter, then I don't see a problem.
  15. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry, but that's not true. They definitely get medical attention and can even keep the organic title when sold.

    Non-organic meats often cannot get the organic labeling because they are fed an unnatural diet and housed in bad environments that promote illness, so to combat this farmers use antibacterials for most of the animals life.

    Like cows, for example, are often fed a diet of corn and cannot move more than a foot or two. The corn makes them taste better and fattens them but naturally they should be grazing on grass. Their stomachs aren't able to handle the bacterias that grow from processing the corn so unless they get a constant supply of antibiotics they will get very sick.

    This practice is very different than treating antibiotics only when a cow grazing on grass gets sick. Which may or may not happen at all through it's entire life. Organically raised foods are a much better standard than commercial, industrial farming and they most definitely get medical attention if needed.

    I know this from first hand experience as my family runs an organic farm.
  16. allllien

    allllienWell Known MemberMember

    I also thought to be sold as 'organic' the animals must not have been treated with antibiotics at all? Or is there a certain time frame before being slaughtered they must have been kept off medications?
  17. Hill Dweller

    Hill DwellerWell Known MemberMember

    I believe various veterinary meds specify withholding periods before they can be slaughtered so the meds can clear the animal's system and not be present in the meat/organs that humans may in turn eat, it's quite possible the organic livestock have a specified standard for longer withholding, which would allow normal care for any animal that might get sick or injured.

    Some meds preclude the animal from any future human consumption altogether. It's an issue for animals like horses which are kept as both pets/performance animals and (in some cultures) and as livestock for food. There was a bit of a fuss in the EU many years ago as they were planning to ban the use of a staple painkiller in all horses, when pretty much every owner of a riding horse would use this stuff for injuries or to help older arthritic horses enjoy a useful later life or a happy retirement. All because there was a chance old Neddy who passes on in Ireland might end up on a dinner plate in say Poland.

    Anyway the point of that ramble is that the regulation of veterinary medicine and food standards is quite stringent to cover a lot of complicated issues balancing animal welfare while they are alive, and supply chain assurance once they leave the farm gate and "stop being alive"
  18. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Generally, most organic meats haven't been treated just because the animal is much healthier than what you'd find at an industrial farm and doesn't need any medications throughout it's life.

    And yes, if an animal is treated they wait for the medications to run its course and give it plenty of time to leave their body. Also, most organic farmers wouldn't try to even sell a sick animal. Unlike the industrial farms...

    Watch the movie Food Inc. if you can find it (I think it's on netflix). It's somewhat biased but it has good info.

    Personally, I don't usually buy organic meat, so don't think I'm an organic food snob/fanboy.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  19. oOBlueOo

    oOBlueOoWell Known MemberMember

    I have to disagree with that. Here in Wisconsin, I have talked to a few vets about treating an organic vs regular cow. A regular cow, they said, would be able to get penicillin and other antibiotics if it gets sick. An organic wouldn't. It would just get supportive care instead of treatment.

    I may be misunderstanding this, but apparently if a cow gets antibiotics for treatment, then it's not considered organic anymore.

    Each state /country probably has their own regulations on what's considered organic. This is what I've been told.
  20. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    I went vegan for quite some time (not anymore I must admit, I have eaten some animal products in restaurants and so...) because both the health benefits and later on I started looking into ethics and yeah most people are hyprocritical and cant seem to accept that in Western culture and 2017 if you eat meat you eat it because of taste, not because of need. I am yet to see an argument for eating meat that has been convincing to me. Most of them are just fallacies.

    Animal agriculture is a contributing factor to global warming, and in response to
    everyones posts about soy, I wonder what animals are fed. I think most of them are fed soy. I just find it crazy that we are destroying habitats to plant food that we can eat yet we decide it to give that food to animals that we already destroyed habitats for to then eat them... waste of both money and energy. You need less land and resources to produce the 1kg of "vegetables" than to produce 1kg of meat, so clearly, veggies are not the problem here.

    And yeah, the organic label is for the most part a lie, you can check out tons of videos to see how they are treated in reality, and even then, if the animals were treated right, I wonder if you would like to be killed for seomeone´s pleasure (I know some will tell me that animals and human feelings cant be compared, but we need some sort of reference for ethics). And I also wonder how can killing not be painful or how killing can be "humane". All of this for again, just your taste, you get no nutritional benefit and you only contribute to one of the contributors to global warming.

    The world is going down, I tried to change people´s views around me and no one heard, so I kind of already gave up on being that activist vegan that everyone hates for caring about the world, I am just going to live my life and hope that I will die before the world goes down. I am probably going to sound nuts but we should tankthis all to the big guys that are filling their pockets selling you the old myth that animal products are healthy and necessary for you.
    And yeah, I also cant imagine caring for my fish just to then eat salmon.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017