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Sin and vegetarianism - Off in the distance — LiveJournal
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May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 12:59
Subject: Sin and vegetarianism
Security: Public
There seem to be a tradition that although vegetarians may not eat beef, port pork, chicken and other such products of mammals and birds, that they can still eat fish. (Whether they can eat alligator, turtle, locusts, snails or other creatures is not something I've yet found out.) Like many others, I've often wondered about the origin of this, since it seems a bit weird, but the other evening, I think I encountered a plausible reason.

It appears that it comes down to the Christian tradition of fasting. Supposedly, the reason for 'not eating meat' during Lent, or on a Friday, or if you're a monk or the like, is that eating meat is indirectly partaking of the original sin. Animals reproduce by breeding, and in the case of mammals and birds, breeding involves copulation. If copulation is sinful, then the product of copulation - even that of animals - is also to some extent sinful, and therefore their flesh should be avoided.

Fish, on the other hand, do not copulate. Therefore, the flesh of fish is not the product of sin. And thus it is permitted to eat fish.

Okay ...

(Though whoever categorised whales as fish never went out with the sperm whalers. And also not all piscine species use the eggs-and-milt approach.)

Edit: for silly typo - thanks Feòrag.
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User: flick
Date: 2010-02-18 13:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Also, iirc, rabbits are fish. Which is just weird. And guinea pigs.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 13:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I can see the confusion between pikas and pikes, but ...

Edited at 2010-02-18 01:09 pm (UTC)
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Steve Davies
User: miramon
Date: 2010-02-18 21:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And of course geese are shellfish...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 23:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Some geese. Specifically, the barnacle goose was. Except that Innocent III made the sane decision that they were too similar to other ducks and geese to be sanely categorised as sea-food, even if they did have an unusual reproductive setup.
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