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Great, Now We’ve Got ‘Seagans’ To Deal With

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I don’t know whether I missed the memo on this or something, but it seems 2017 is the year we’re attempting to break the world record on stupid.

The Huffington Post put out a piece spotlighting a new book written by chef Amy Cramer and author Lisa McComsey. The book, called Seagan Eating, advocates for a fully plant-based diet with one exception – you can eat seafood. Apparently the book is targeted at those looking for a healthier diet but who are unable to go “whole-hog” and become vegan. Oh and, the seafood has to be “sustainably-fished, low-mercury seafood.” Because happyfish, right?

With respect to ethical vegans, Cramer says that “we absolutely honor and admire them.” Of course, because that’s what the fish want – your admiration of those who don’t unnecessarily kill them whilst you go ahead and feast on their bodies. Apparently, the way to respect the lives of sentient beings isn’t to stop exploiting them, it’s to make sure you’re only consuming “safely caught” aquatic animals who are not close to extinction. And don’t forget, only consume fish with a low mercury content, because the fish clearly give a fuck about that when they’re hauled out of the ocean to suffocate.

Aside from the heinous rights violations this pair are advocating – including but not limited to getting friendly with your fishmonger and having a sniff of the bodies before buying – they’re promoting ‘seaganism’ as an environmental position. That makes as much sense as promoting the consumption “sustainably raised” beef or dairy as an answer to climate change. Animal agriculture – in whatever form – is an ecological disaster.

Perhaps most disturbingly, the authors see ‘seaganism’ as fitting a “huge need for vegans who want variety and, for health reasons, they now realize they can eat [fish].” They’re telling vegans that it’s okay to “order the salmon at a restuarant instead of just ordering the vegetables.”

Well, it’s not okay. Cramer and McComsey’s position is devoid of a moral element, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It just means they’ve assumed animals to be things. There is no moral difference between aquatic animals and any other animals. They are all sentient beings with the moral right not to be used as resources. Our exploitation of them is entirely unnecessary – we inflict suffering and death upon them for no other reason than we like how they taste. But pleasure is not a sufficient justification for inflicting suffering and  death. ‘Seaganism’ attempts to assert that there is a health component to the argument for consuming seafood. But that argument is utterly irrelevant when we can live optimally healthy (and in many cases, healthier) lives without inflicting suffering and death. When we recognise that sentient beings have moral value, and that our actions towards them require some form of moral justification, we see that it’s wrong to assume animals are sources of food just as it’s wrong to assume humans are sources of food.

The Huffington puts ‘seaganism’ in the same category as ‘climatarianism’ and ‘reducitarianism,’ something that both Cramer and McComsey seem content with. And that makes sense, as another non-position that simply gives people an excuse to continue doing the wrong thing, it’s right at home promoting continued exploitation.

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  • Jade Abudia

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but how is this a new thing? Isn’t it called being a pescetarian?

    • Kæla B.

      Why do people keep saying this? Pescatarians eat dairy and egg products.

      • Jade Abudia

        That makes zero sense. Pesce is italian for fish. Open a book.

  • Meg T

    There are many reasons to become a vegan. Some for moral reasons and some for health reasons to name a few. For those who become vegan for health reasons they are entitled to explore their options including fish.

    Then there are those who go vegan and embrace it so fully that they mentally strangle out the rights of others to have a say or independent thought. I often wonder if people like that get dizzy standing so high on their soap boxes…..

    Dropping the “F” bomb a few times? Takes away from the message.

    • Kæla B.

      Feeling the same here. I wonder if these people realize that people calling themselves “plant-based with the inclusion of fish, because veganism is a ethical stance against animal cruelty, so it is vegan’s special word” will not make the fish stop dying any quicker xD

    • Leo

      No, they are not entitled to. No one is entitled to take the life of another being. If they decide to eat fish, then they are no longer vegan, and do not need to choose a term that associates it with veganism.

  • Rick A

    I agree with Meg and Kæla. Amy and Lisa don’t claim be vegans. So there’s no particular point criticizing them for not following a strict vegan diet. Obviously, if you think it’s isn’t ok to eat animals at all, it isn’t “ok” to make an exception for fish. Duh. But for those of us who want a healthier lifestyle and who aren’t ready or willing to become vegans, “Seagan Eating” makes a lot of sense. I’ve vastly reduced the amount of animal products I consume by following Amy and Lisa’s approach. And I don’t claim to be perfect … just better.

    There are probably a lot of people like me out there. Why not encourage us by supporting a practical, easy-to-follow diet that, if adopted on a large scale, could drastically reduce our overall dependence on meat and dairy farming? Or would you prefer to stick with small numbers of ethically pure vegans having only a marginal positive effect on our environment?

    For me the choice is obvious. I say we applaud Amy and Lisa for getting a good thing going and encourage more people to adopt a “Seagan” diet, if only as a stepping-stone to a full vegan lifestyle. And lay off the smarmy name-calling while you’re at it. Lobbing holier-than-thou, insulting blog posts at those attempting to develop healthy alternatives may be fun for you, but unhelpful to your cause.

    • Leo

      We’d probably be less annoyed if it weren’t for the co-option of veganism just to come up with a cutesy name for it, especially as that gives a false impression of the ethics involved. Vegans do not eat fish. Veganism has nothing to do with eating fish. I’m not going to encourage people to think eating fish is acceptable or isn’t harming the environment, and promoting this as though it’s a ‘stepping-stone’ just presents it as though it is fine to eat fish, making people less likely to consider veganism at all, whereas promoting veganism does not have that issue, and anyone can be vegan. Being vegan is already a practical, easy to follow diet. Why aren’t you ready or willing to become vegan? It’s easy, I promise! You don’t need to eat fish at all.

  • Lisa CA

    I am, by snd large, a plant-based food consumer. My food choices aren’t wholly driven by ethical concerns of animal mistreatment, although it certainly plays a role. In trying to walk this line between veganism and being a pescataerian, I turned to a family member – who grew up in a devoutly vegan family – for advise when he starting eating fish. He chose to eat seafood that has no central nervous system. Conceptually that works for me. I’m not a fan of my-way-or-the-highway orthodoxy; it’s how war starts. I applaud Cramer and McComsey for their effort. The book is interesting and thought provoking.

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