Here's why some vegans think it's okay to eat oysters

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Some vegans believe that it's okay to eat oysters, stating that they are an exception to the general rules of veganism.

Being a vegan means that you have to be vigilant with not only what you eat, but with things like your clothing and medication.

According to The Vegan Society, a vegan is someone who avoids "all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish, and insects), dairy, eggs, and honey, as well as avoiding animal-derived materials, products tested on animals, and places that use animals for entertainment."

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However, there are a few things that divide vegans on what is acceptable and what isn't.

At the centre of that debate are oysters, and this isn't as clear as you might think.

Much like the controversy surrounding honey, the inclusion of oysters in a vegan diet is contentious.

While some vegans consume shellfish and are known as ostrovegans, the argument about oysters goes beyond mere dietary choices.

Biologically, oysters, which are bivalve molluscs, are seen by some as the functional equivalent of plants.

They lack the ability to move independently and do not possess a central nervous system or brain, leading to questions about their capacity to think and feel pain.

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"One cannot with any confidence say that these creatures do feel pain, so one can equally have little confidence in saying that they do not feel pain," wrote Peter Singer, a prominent vegan philosopher, who initially endorsed eating oysters in his book Animal Liberation.

He later retracted this endorsement due to the uncertainty surrounding their ability to feel pain.

Despite lacking a brain, oysters do have some organs similar to those in humans, such as a heart and kidneys.

However, they primarily have ganglia and nerve cords, which differ significantly from the central nervous systems found in mammals.

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Vegans also pride themselves on their care for the environment, which is why a large number choose to adopt the lifestyle.

According to ASC Aqua, approximately 95 percent of the world's oysters are farmed, a process deemed sustainable and environmentally beneficial.

Oysters serve as natural water purifiers, with a single oyster capable of filtering five liters of water per hour, significantly impacting the environment positively.

Additionally, it takes just an acre of underwater land to raise 750,000 oysters at a time.

But after all of this, the decision to include oysters in their diet remains with the individual.

Featured image credit: Oscar Wong/Getty