Sonia Horon, exclusive to Global Animal
If Orange Is the New Black, then fish is the new tofu—at least according to officials at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Connecticut who defy biology by claiming fish meat is not actually meat.
Inmate Howard Cosby requested vegetarian meals due to his personal religious beliefs, but has been repeatedly denied as the prison continues to feed him seafood three times a week. Cosby enlisted the help of PETA after his complaints to the prison were ignored.
The inmate’s request being denied is a bit shocking—even though it is considered fastidious by some—since it is supported by his religious views under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which “prohibits correctional facilities from imposing substantial burdens on inmates’ religious exercise,” according to PETA.
But what’s more mind-boggling is the grounds on which his request has been declined. Cosby explained to PETA that officials told him his diet falls under vegetarian because the department does not consider fish to be meat.
So, let’s review our biology for a second. Fish meat comes from fish–living beings who eat, see, digest, swim, and are considered animals. Therefore, their flesh is meat. Just because Catholicism might take a more Biblical approach to the word animal or meat, does not give prisons the right to bend scientific facts for their own convenience.
But the real question is why are we spending tax dollars on killing unwanted fish and feeding it to reluctant inmates, when cheaper alternatives are readily available?
Some jails and prisons, such as the Idaho and Massachusetts Departments of Correction, have already adopted more vegan-friendly food options like lentil shepherd’s pie, vegan pizza, and soy products, which can be big money savers.
Switching to a more balanced plant diet would not only save tax payers millions of dollars in food but in healthcare as well, since vegan food is linked with reducing blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
If we’re trying to rehabilitate inmates and teach them respect for life, why not start with the basics of respecting those most marginalized by society—animals and especially fish? There is no reason for fish, animals capable of feeling pain, to suffer when there are better, cheaper, and more environmentally-freindly alternatives on the table.