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date: 19 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the question of whether it is ethically justified to eat fish. Fish present a particularly interesting case with regard to the ethics of eating animals, since they are neurologically and physiologically very unlike human beings and since fishing is deeply integrated into many human cultures. The chapter discusses the scientific evidence available at present and concludes that it offers positive, if incomplete, support for the thesis that fish do indeed feel pain and for the further thesis that some fish have relatively rich mental lives. The chapter then considers the challenges facing the construction of a plausible moral principle that would allow humans to eat fish based on wild-catching or cultural considerations. On the basis of these considerations, both scientific and moral, it concludes that, if there are good ethical arguments against eating terrestrial animals, these are likely to extend to the case of fish as well.

Keywords: fish, eating animals, ethics of eating, pain, pescatarianism, vegetarianism

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