Point: I'm a Pescetarian.

Allison Lazarus

By Allison Lazarus, ’10, Perspectives Section Editor

“Why?” This is the question people consistently pose whenever I mumble that I’ve been a pescetarian (I eat fish but no meat) for almost three years.  Some, too impatient to wait for an answer, guess that I object extremely strongly to the mistreatment of animals or have deep ideological qualms with the food industry.  I’ve even been asked whether I’ve forsaken meat solely as a way to grab attention for myself.  None of these responses, however, ring true in my case.

The reason I stopped eating meat was simpler—I don’t like the taste.  If, at any time, I wanted to eat a meat product, I would do so without hesitation.  I’m secure in my choice.  But the issue with which I have a problem is that disdain which generally seems to characterize others when I tell them my dietary preferences.  In fact, I’ve made it a practice not to openly talk about my pescetarianism if it doesn’t naturally come up, as I feel that whenever someone learns that I don’t eat meat, I am immediately pigeonholed as a tree-hugging, naively crusading liberal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  However, I don’t like the idea that my choices are so blatantly misconstrued as representative of ideologies to which I don’t subscribe wholeheartedly.

The other reason that I don’t bring up this issue is the predictability of at least one person sitting around the table with me trying to get me to eat a piece of meat, either by physically sticking it in my mouth or by arguing with me about my “foolish” decision.  Obviously, I don’t want to eat it, and I find this, aside from being annoying, positively hypocritical.  One of the charges most often leveled against vegetarians is the pervasiveness of their self-righteous proselytizing, so this reversal of roles strikes me every time it occurs as especially irritating.

Though I don’t mind explaining my pescetarianism to anyone who is interested, I’m not one to go around trying to make my friends think that the latest meat dish in the Dining Terrace is disgusting, and I’ve never even thought of broadcasting the latest animal cruelty scandal to hit YouTube.  And, to be honest, I don’t see the point of such vocalization for any vegetarian.  Instead, at least for me, the issue is extremely personal—not identification with a larger movement, but simply an individual decision. T

Photo courtesy of Clip Art.