June 8 is World Oceans Day, and while many people will be speaking out for the protection of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, isn’t it time that we also showed compassion to all of the oceans’ inhabitants?
We all know that the oceans’ mammals feel pain when they are caught and used for food, but nonmammals do, too. Scientists have determined, for example, that not only do lobsters feel pain, they also may feel pain even more so than humans would in similar situations. According to invertebrate zoologist Jaren G. Horsley, “The lobster does not have an autonomic nervous system that puts it into a state of shock when it is harmed. It probably feels itself being cut. … I think the lobster is in a great deal of pain from being cut open … [and] feels all the pain until its nervous system is destroyed.”
Crabs endure similar agony. Many crabs‘ legs are damaged and torn off when fishers quickly grab them out of nets. And like lobsters, they’re often thrown into pots of scalding-hot water, where they fight so hard to escape being boiled alive that their claws often break off in their struggle. Some crabs used for food are electrocuted, and some are chopped up—all while they are still conscious.
Fish are sensitive animals who endure almost unimaginable horrors when they are caught for food. Scientists have shown time and time again that fish feel pain, just as mammals and birds do. From the moment fish are caught in nets and dragged from the water, they begin to suffocate. Fish who are farmed are completely conscious while their gills are cut and they are left to bleed to death.
Eating “seafood” isn’t smart, as the flesh is frequently contaminated with mercury and other toxins. You wouldn’t dream of drinking water tainted by sewage and other contaminants, so why would you eat the animals who are pulled from the oceans? “Sustainable” is a popular marketing gimmick used by the fishing industry, but eating sea animals—regardless of their numbers—only contributes to the decimation of the oceans’ ecosystem and perpetuates the suffering of ocean life.
The only truly sustainable fish is faux. Why not celebrate World Oceans Day with some of these delicious vegan fish recipes? They taste like fish, but unlike sea animals, they are free from harmful toxins. And most importantly, they don’t claim animals’ lives:
Protect the world’s oceans by promising not to eat any of their inhabitants.