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Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

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  • Offline TamiW
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Or, as a more broad discussion, is it okay for other cultures to consume seahorses? This grew up from an earlier thread. So, the question is two part: Is it okay to consume seahorses, (and why or why not) and would you personally eat a seahorse, if the opportunity arrose?
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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #1 posted: 4 years ago »
Since there are no replies so far, I thought I'd throw my two cents in. Would I eat a seahorse? I don't know. I like most seafood, so there is a good chance I would. Then again, there is an equally good chance that as I encountered it, I'd change my mind. I certainly don't think eating my own is something I'm going to do. (If I'm going to raise fish for food, it's going to be delicious delicious tilapia).

I used to be really against the idea of seahorses being used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or just consumed for other reasons (apparently fried seahorses are a thing street vendors sell in some countries). But the more I've encountered the issue, the less I feel it's wrong. For one, if you're going to eat meat, then there probably isn't a good reason to say a certain type of animal is more special than others. For instance, a seahorse probably has less feelings, connections and intelligence than a cow or chicken, but most people are okay eating them. And because seahorses used for consumption are wild caught, they've probably lived a better life than most meat we consume.

The other reason I don't find it nearly as repulsive as I once did is understanding the dynamics of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yes, seahorse is used as an aphrodisiac, but they're also used for things like bringing down a fever or arthritis. Whether they work or not is another story. But, another big part of the puzzle is that there are a lot of rural poor that don't have access to western medication. Their only option is the local doctor that uses TCM. Attempts to stop their use in TCM is going to be most detrimental to the poorest poor. Now, I said it we don't know if it works or not, but we do know seahorses are high in some essential vitamins and minerals. It's likely not totally a placebo, and as someone once put it - if you thought your child was going to die and were told seahorse/tiger bones/rhino horn could save them, would you worry about whether or not it was okay to use it? No, you'd hunt every last one to extinction if it meant saving your child. It may not work, but if you're poor and the only doctor within miles is telling you it's what you need, you're not going to think about it.

The biggest problem, of course, is overfishing. CITES has utterly failed when it comes to starting breeding programs for Traditional Chinese Medicine. The aquarium trade has been reduced to mostly captive bred fish. But the  cost of captive raised seahorses, due to the time it takes it get there and the difficulty to get there means that wild seahorses are cheaper. Thus, they will continue to being overfish.

With that in mind, if they were sourced from either sustainable catching measures, or captive bred, then I wouldn't have a problem with them being consumed.
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  • Offline ejbaer
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #2 posted: 4 years ago »
Having eaten lots of weird things, rocky mountain oysters, raw quail eggs,  lionfish, sea urchin roe to name a few,, I would say HECK NO to eating seahorses.  Maybe because I view them as a threatened animal worldwide and not a sustainable choice of food.  The thought of eating turtles appalls me too :-[.
  • Offline DonnaFromLA
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #3 posted: 4 years ago »
 :o  NO, personally I do not want to eat a seahorse...the same way I don't eat veal or rabbit or duck or horse or buffalo or snake and I'm sure if I sat long enough I could come up with a very long list. As I stated in a previous post this week, my food list has really become quite short these days and as I get older it gets shorter and shorter. I have lost my taste for most seafood and a lot of meat too. I am bordering a vegetarian, but not quite there yet. Give me a few years more though.

I do find it hard to eat something that I am friendly with and can be my pet...it's not in me to do it. I recently have not been friendly with any cow's so I have no problem with a nice Rib eye at all  in fact if you put it on the BBQ I'll have mine rare please...that still can go down easily. Nope, not friendly with cows at all ;D
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  • Offline Elaine
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #4 posted: 4 years ago »
Short answer is NO.
Would be interesting to see if Tesco in China are selling them. I had a very long exchange in e-mails with regards turtle selling and their responce to that was dreadful. All about the money-money- money.

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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #5 posted: 4 years ago »
All about the money-money- money.

While that does appear to be the case,  it's important to understand the businessvculture and government that created that situation. I've spoken to a couple people involved I  importing and customs that helped fill me in.  First,  there is very little government oversight,  and what oversight there is is bribe-based. So regulations don't really mean anything.  Why follow the rules when you competitor is making money hand over fist? It creates an environment where the greedy and corrupt thrive. There is no ethical business,  just who can make money.  In that was it sounds like the US.  Okay,  I kid my fellow countrymen. But my understanding is the business is very cut throat,  and only those willing to bend,  if not break the rules and grease the wheels with bribes get ahead.

It's not pretty and it's not something that appeals to decency can fix. It's why there have been poisonous filler in pet and baby food, and why toys with led paint made their way abroad. In the west,  the US specifically,  but Europe doesn't entirely get a free pass,  our demand for low cost goods fuels this behavior. We don't demand our suppliers have decent quality controls. In fact,  we get the goods so cheap precisely because of the lack of quality control. So,  for as terrible as it is, it isn't so much casual cruelty but that of a corrupt system that props up the west with cheap labor and goods.
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  • Offline NaNaFish
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #6 posted: 4 years ago »
Well after looking at most sea horses- There does not look like much meat on them.  Besides breading them and frying them, I do not think I woud eat them.  They do have a certain redeeming qualities about them that would stop me cold in my tracks.  Now as far as eting lobster, crab & shrimp- YES to all 3.  They do not possess those endearing little faces and bat their eyes at you.  You have to first avoid those claws!
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  • Offline DonnaFromLA
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #7 posted: 4 years ago »
 :o I will still say that NO I will not eat those poor little things...and not even the bigger one's thank you...not in my genetic make-up to chew on my pet thank you ::) I just can't do it.

I think I'll stick to the cow that grazed in the grass and that poor little chicken, and as I said, even they are starting to look a little sad to me these days...potato chips and cheese and roasted peppers look good these days...
 ;D What can I say, the older I get the more koo koo I get... ::)
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Re: Friday Discussion - Would you eat a seahorse?

« Reply #8 posted: 4 years ago »
I don't think I would as I don't view seahorses as being eatable. I too, eat tons of seafood, but I think of seahorses as being past delicate creatures so they are not to be eaten -- at least in American culture. In others, I'm sure the kill to eat anything they can get their hands on. But no, I wouldn't dare touch a seahorse.