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Bruce Friedrich

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Catholic Bishops Should Include Fish in 'Meatless Fridays'

Posted: 05/31/11 01:05 PM ET

Catholic bishops in the U.K. want to reinstate year-round meatless Fridays, which sounds great to me, except for one thing: They still seem to think that fish are swimming vegetables.

Like all other animals killed for food, fish are sentient beings who value their lives. Research on fish intelligence abounds, revealing that fish use tools, tell time, sing, and have impressive long-term memories and complex social structures. Fish also create cognitive maps that allow them to navigate through vast expanses of water.

More importantly, like other animals, fish feel pain. Renowned scientist Victoria Braithwaite noted, "[T]here is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals."

Fish used for food are hooked, suffocated, crushed, impaled, cut open and gutted, all while still conscious, and they feel every agonizing second.

For some arresting video footage of fish slaughter, watch the fish portion of the Paul McCartney video, "Glass Walls," here:

Not eating animals is a smart, compassionate decision, regardless of whether those animals are furred, feathered or finned. As actor James Cromwell is fond of saying, "We don't need to eat anyone who would run, swim or fly away if she could."

What better time than World Week for the Abolition of Meat to let fish off the hook?

 
 
 

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