How should the community treat the ethocs of food.

The reason I ask is becasue of the following question and the recomendation for using Cod or Haddock:

What is a good fish for cooking crumbed / battered?

In many parts of the world Cod and Haddock are very endangered and need to be very carefully sourced. Is this something that should come up in the discussions on this site or should it be purely about the classical aspects of cooking (taste, appearance, hygeine etc. )

  • Besides endangered species, most Americans object to certain foods for 'ethical' reasons -- eating insects may be considered 'strange' and 'exotic', but horse, dog and cat are considered objectionable.
    – Joe
    Jul 21, 2010 at 18:54
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    @Joe: Speaking of which, there's some supplementary reading at Horse / dog / pet preparation questions. Majority seems to agree that being part of an online community means learning a little cultural tolerance, and unless a question is clearly intended to be offensive (i.e. cannibalism), we shouldn't flag/downvote questions simply because some "food" is taboo in our society.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 21, 2010 at 19:27
  • Hmm ... trying to think of other ethical issues besides endangered-ness, pets and militant veganism ... I know there's some people that object to the process used. Eg, Alton Brown said he'd never cook foie gras on Good Eats, as he didn't like what it took to make it. (in Baltimore, during the book signing tour for his first book ... someone asked him if there were things he wouldn't do a show about). Again, this one's cultural ... are there any other 'ethical' issues that we might have to be prepared for, especially that can't just be dismissed as 'cultural'?
    – Joe
    Jul 21, 2010 at 20:13
  • @Joe: The thing about activists is that they can always find a reason to be against something. ;) There are people out there against certain types of farming, plastics, genetic engineering and god knows what else. You name it, they've campaigned against it, and a lot of it sort of relates to food. I'd prefer not to see a bunch of discussions about how we all need to go on raw food diets because cooking is unnatural (yes, there are people who believe this).
    – Aaronut
    Jul 21, 2010 at 20:58
  • @Aaronaught : I completely forgot about the raw foodies and fruitarians. (and I'm not so much against large-scale commercial farming, I'm just for local farming ... as every local farm we save is one less sub-division that goes in screwing up my commute to work, as I think that's the only political statement I've made on this site)
    – Joe
    Jul 21, 2010 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


There may be ethical issues around the fishing, but as far as cooking or selecting the food goes, the endangered-ness is pretty much irrelevant. Either you can find/source it or you can't.

The issues are also totally localized, making it a poor topic for discussion on a site targeted at a global audience.

Leaving aside the often dubious criteria used by governments and NGOs to attempt to classify "endangered species" and the even more dubious criteria used to determine the effectiveness of such measures, I really think that the whole thing is just too far-removed from our mission to be a central area of discussion.

Feel free to mention these things in answers, of course. I could foresee a question along the lines of "Why can't I find [Haddock] at the markets anymore?" And the correct answer might very well be, "[Haddock] was classified as an endangered species in [area], so very few markets there will sell it anymore." That's fine. But please no activism questions along the lines of "Is it ethical for me to be eating [Endangered Species]?" because honestly, that doesn't help further the site's aim of helping people to serve delicious meals.

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    The statement you can either source it or you can't is not entirely correct. Cod is considered to be a vulnerable species however it is still readily fished and sold. I agree that localisation is an issue but I would like to think as a community that we make sure that people are aware of the environmental and animal welfare statements that we make. If this community choose to just look at it from a taste / experience point of view, persoanlly it would not be the right community for me to be involved in. Does this show up an issue with the Stack Exchange system?
    – Ian Turner
    Jul 22, 2010 at 12:35
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    @Ian: You're more than welcome to mention these issues in answers or comments and I don't think that the community will look down on you or try to penalize you for it. However, I'd really prefer not to see a spate of questions focused entirely on that subject; they would basically be noise on the front page, not to mention subjective/argumentative. If you find that problematic, then maybe you should start by suggesting some examples of questions that you think would do well on this site.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 22, 2010 at 14:06

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