I am a committed Vegan, but I am totally missing oysters.
Every day this mini-battle goes on in my head.
I am a Vegan for two prime reasons.
I think, for reasons of woo woo, that the following is a supreme teaching:
“Do Not Eat Animals”.
Like most people, I do not want to be an increaser of negativity in the world. That is, I don’t want to choose to cultivate and propagate or in any sense be responsible for or supportive or endorsing negativity production in any way.
The “choice” aspect is important here, I think:
When I eat a salad, beings may have died to get that salad before me. A shrew in a field. Two badgers in a pile up on the M4. All is possible, even with kale.
But when I eat meat, I am necessarily choosing that an animal was imprisoned, tortured, exploited and slaughtered for me.
Vegans choose not to cause suffering in their choices, this does not mean that their choices will never cause suffering. #quornpocalypse
Once I accept this principle (Ahimsa and Sukka) it is just a no-brainer to me that if I eat cheese or chicken, then I am causing suffering. Often in massive ways that, as the end consumer, I see myself as ultimately responsible for. I pay the assassin via the teller or waiter or jolly vendor at the farmer’s market.
I have philosophised these kinds of points so much over the last few years, more than most, I would wager. Still my conclusions remain: it is water-tight, a no-brainer, a comestible cogito: We should not eat animals.
Of course I would eat meat in a survival situation.
Of course honey is not the same as ham.
Of course milk is worse than flesh, because it is flesh, plus more suffering. If B contains X and C contains B then C contains X.
I belive that if you want to be one of those people, like most people, one of the… “I-dont-wanna-be-cruels”, then, in no sense, can your meat eating be justified. You are being irrational, alongside your cruelty. (Please, please prove me wrong on this, for I would so love it not to be so true.)
The Mammalian end of the spectrum, and even the birds and the fish, those little fellas, I am close to done with them in my philosophical enumerations and ruminations, but Oysters, they are still in the mirky penumbra, somewhere between figs and accidental cod roe.
Of oysters I cannot say, “I should not eat that.”
I don’t currently eat them, and haven’t for many many months, but by gosh, they are almost on the tip of my tongue.
I cannot yet justify their exclusion for reasons a bit like, but not limited to, the following:
I cannot really make sense of an oyster experincing suffering, in much the same way that I cannot imagine yeast suffering. I could torture a goose, but an oyster? That does not yet make sense to me.
I don’t think it experiences anything. It has no brain, as such. It has a strewn out clumps of proto-neurons. It will respond to stimulus, but feel pain or in any sense be, in any point in anything that can be considered a mental space?
Is it a being?
When I think “Do Not Eat Animals” that last term expands out into something like “sentient beings”. “Sentience” means able to experience. “Being” means able to be. I don’t know really what either of those terms really mean. Nobody really does. Especially not the oysters. But I am sure a dog is sentient, as I know I am. Oysters, profoundly lack this sureness, to me, right now.
We think fish can feel pain, they respond as such, they can be anaesthetised, they have similar pain biologies to mammals. But these arguments and understands do not apply to oysters. Oysters may move away from toxic environments but that does not mean they experience the environment. Singled celled organisms can do the same, and vegans eat those. #youpeople!
There is another point, I will make this my last, which is that oysters are jam-packed with nutrients that vegans find very hard to get without chemical supplementation (Which is what I do).
Is that wise? The vegan definition on the society website centres around the term “practicable”. I like that definition, it gives room for reasonableness. I am forced, by reason, to ask, is it not practicable to eat oysters given that, being human, I need B12?
Is it really better that I get it from some industrial process in pill form?
I do not know the answers to these questions and so I just trundle along, not eating oysters, yada yada, “have another bit of cress, Mat”.
Thanks for reading!