In moral arguments for veganism, the pain, stress, and fear experienced by animals is often given as an argument. I have read some arguments that vegetarians should be OK with eating oysters and mussels.

What evidence exists (either way) that clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops feel pain, stress, and fear, or not?


It's highly unlikely, due to them not having any brain or central nervous system. All they have is a small nerve network and two ganglia near their esophagus.

The whole nervous system is basically two nerve centers, one that controls the muscles and the other one that controls the "foot" and other sensory organs. It's unknown whether the cerebral ganglia can feel pain, or just sensations such as food in it's mouth.

There are many articles about whether oysters and such are vegan and do they feel pain, but the overall consenus is: They likely don't feel pain, but whether you eat them depends on your definition of vegan. Do you abstain from eating animals altogether or just animals that feel pain...

  • 1
    I agree they likely don't feel pain but I think it's misleading to suggest that any consensus among vegans would be that oysters are 'safe'. Any conclusion by someone who isn't vegan should be taken with a massive pinch of salt if they are claiming to specify what is or isn't acceptable on a vegan diet.
    – David S
    Jan 31 '17 at 21:41
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    Oysters are not vegan. Veganism is not a rationale that motivates people to abstain from consuming animal product, its the act of abstaining from consuming animal product. A vegan will not consume oysters (or wear pearls) regardless of whether or not they believe that oysters feel pain or fear.
    – user177
    Feb 1 '17 at 17:31
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    @Nephenine that may be your opinion, but that's not necessarily all vegan's opinions. I'll edit though.
    – Riker
    Feb 1 '17 at 17:39
  • [dictionary.com/browse/vegan?s=t]
    – user177
    Feb 1 '17 at 17:45
  • @Nephenine also, every time you past that link it's broken. the ] at the end becomes part of the URL.
    – Riker
    Feb 2 '17 at 18:31

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