"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Fish feel pain!

There is plenty of reason to believe that fish feel pain - see for example the recent report by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. There was a study back in 2003 that was widely covered in the media at that time, but not much seems to have happened since - the media attention fizzled out very quickly, perhaps because the journalists found it hard to reconcile their conscience with the facts and preferred to let the story drop? In any case, the debates at that time revolved mainly around the ethics of angling, without seeming to think very much about the ethics of commercial fishing. But PETA also report that scientists estimate that fish endure up to 15 minutes of excruciating pain before they lose consciousness and this is the fate of hundreds of billions of fish caught for the commercial market each year. And lobsters and crabs also suffer. How can any right minded person with any compassion for sentient beings eat with any conscience something that has suffered so much on its way to the table?
That is why I do not eat fish.
Before dismissing this as fanciful, or imagined, or not proven, please take time to read the PETA reports through the links provided.

I also do not eat meat of any kind. In North America 3.2% of the population or 7.3 million are vegetarian and avoid eating meat, and/or fish, and/or dairy products. (There are various permutations and combinations of what constitute a vegetarian diet.)
In the UK 3 million are vegetarian, representing more than 5% of the population and this number has increased rapidly in the last 15 years and is still rising. More than 10% avoid red meat even though not vegetarian as such.
In Israel a whopping 8.5% are vegetarians.
Reasons for becoming a vegetarian can be ethical, cultural, religious or for health benefits. In India there are more vegetarians than in the rest of the world combined, at 40% of the population, and this of course is related to the strong influence of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism in that country.

What prompted this post? Today I received an invitation to attend a celebratory dinner. A menu was supplied and I am being asked to select my choice of meal. There are 3 different options of main course for those with no dietary restrictions. But as some sort of concession to those like me, I can tick the box called "vegetarian option - pot luck"!! What a choice.

There are any number of exciting dishes you could produce for the likes of me. I have several cookery books devoted to vegetarian cooking - and it doesn't all have to be pasta or pizza either! So come on all you chefs out there.

The photos are of the fish market in Funchal, Madeira.

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