Hi, everyone! I’ve never been here, but I have an issue that just came up. I’m vegan myself and have been vegan for years. I have a vegetarian friend that eats the byproducts of animals who has an issue with killing an animal to eat it but doesn’t have, at least through her diet, a problem with the suffering animals go through for their byproducts. I don’t proselytize nor do I want to, but she came to me with a question I don’t know how to answer because I’m vegan and consider all animal byproducts off-limits.
She was telling me about stone crabs and I researched them as well. Stone crab claws are “harvested” by fisherman under Florida laws which are incredibly stringent. The laws are as follow: “Florida law specifies the length a claw must reach before it may be taken to ensure the best chance of regrowth and dictates that any egg-bearing female be thrown back unmolested. Declawed or not, every crab must be immediately returned to the water, or held in a shaded place and wetted down every half hour before being thrown back. It is illegal for fisherman to possess a whole stone crab, dead or alive, and illegal to fish at night. [For fear of cheating by the fisherman] To safeguard the breeding cycle, fishing is forbidden outside the fishing season.” [Corby Kummer, The Pleasures of Slow Food]
Now here’s the thing that threw me for a loop with my vegetarian friend. Adult crabs regenerate claws, whether we take them or not, as they continually grow new shells and molt. The claw must be neatly punctured at the joint, at which point the crab contracts its muscles and cleanly lets go of its own claw.
She asked me if stone crab claws would be vegetarian, since they aren’t killing the crabs and the crabs grow new claws, to be reharvested when the crab is next caught in a net. Evidently some crabs are handled many times in a fisherman’s lifetime.
I had no answer for her because I’m vegan. So I thought I’d ask your opinions as to how this is different from the suffering we put our dairy cows and egg-laying chickens through.
Thanks for your help,