What is the right answer - assume somebody asks you - to the question what is ethically better for a non-vegetarian person to eat (or what you would recommend him to eat, if you have to): 100 small fish or one big fish (e.g. a whale).

Can you put animal-welfare in quantities and does endangered species play a role?

The question is not about to convince somebody to become vegetarian.

  • that's a good topic of discussion but as a question, it's just opinion-based. How can we answer objectively ? Is it better to eat a steak or to wear leather shoes? What veganism is about is animal cruelty. We cannot measure cruelty and compare one cruelty with another. When making an ethical compromise, only you can draw the line. You can consider many things: number of individuals, degree of consciousness, duration of the suffering, if the species is endangered or easily renewable, quantity of pollution created...
    – Manuki
    Jul 23, 2019 at 14:18
  • As it is written, this is a very subjective question ("what is the right answer") -- you could potentially rephrase it to ask about the arguments for both side without asking for a judgment on which is right. Manuki has provided a good list of objective factors that could be evaluated for consideration, for example.
    – Erica
    Jul 23, 2019 at 23:30
  • A whale is not a fish, it's a mammal: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale. Some accept eating fish but not mammals as they are "lower creatures". If that is factor in your decision then don't eat a whale for any reason. Further, it may be one of the most intelligent animals.
    – badjohn
    Jul 25, 2019 at 11:14

1 Answer 1


Surely from a vegetarian's point of view, it is the one big fish. You are killing one being rather than one-hundred. However, if the species of large fish is endangered, then the question is 'Is somebody who is non-vegetarian willing to risk $50000 (the fine for killing an endangered animal) for animal welfare?' Which, even for vegetarians, is difficult. In what circumstance will you be put into this situation anyway. As good as an ethical dilemma it is, there is not an important or exceptional answer.

  • I'd say it would be very likely! Yes, not many people eat whale these days, but what about the ethics of eating cattle vs. sheep? Or rabbits? Or large fish, e.g. salmon, versus a whole plate of little sardines? Ideally, don't eat any of them, but somebody who's bothered about animal welfare and wants to cut down but isn't prepared to stop eating meat altogether might wonder. And there seem to be quite a lot of those people.
    – A. B.
    Mar 21, 2021 at 8:27

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