Is it OK for vegetarians to eat shrimp?

There are certain creatures—like scallops, oysters, and shrimp—that we just don’t know a whole lot about. We aren’t sure how much pain and suffering they are capable of feeling. Here at PETA, we urge people to “err on the side of compassion.” Since we don’t know for sure that these creatures can’t suffer, we opt to assume they do and act accordingly.

An equally pressing reason to avoid sea “food” of all kinds is the issue of bycatch. When fishers seek a certain quarry, they often injure and kill other sea creatures in the process. In the case of shrimp, sea turtles are often caught and killed in the shrimp nets. This is a huge contributor to the decline in the sea turtle population.

Another reason to avoid eating sea creatures of any kind is the fact that fishing has had a devastating effect on the world’s oceans. This means that food is scarce not only for humans, but also for the other animals, such as seals, dolphins, and sea birds, who survive on what they catch in the sea. When we catch huge quantities of sea creatures, we reduce the food source for these animals, who, unlike most humans, truly must consume fish and other sea creatures in order to survive.

Click here for more information on fishing.

The good news is that delicious vegetarian faux “shrimp” and other seafood “taste-alikes” are available. For more information on these products, click here for tasty faux fish recipes.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind