Biology’s Ronald G. Oldfield publishes article on ethics of eating fish, with response from bestselling author

Photo from circa 1970s of three children standing outdoors next to a goat
In Oldfield’s article, he discusses his pet goat, Sparky, pictured here.

Ronald G. Oldfield, senior instructor of biology, published an article, titled “You Can’t Betray a Fish: One Reason Eating Fish May Cause Less Harm Than Eating Cows,” for the Journal of Animal Ethics on March 22, with a response from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Balcombe.

In the article, Oldfield argues that both typical farmed animals (mammals) and fish are cognitively capable of experiencing betrayal, but that the manner in which fish are typically kept does not facilitate human-fish trust relationships. 

Balcombe responded arguing that fish might experience betrayal on small fish farms and that most people could simply choose not to eat fish or other animals. 

Oldfield wrote his article while teaching a Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) course at Case Western Reserve University (USNA 287c: Animals and Humans).

Read both articles.

Learn more about Balcombe’s New York Times Best Seller What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, and his latest book Super Fly: The Unexpected Lives of the World’s Most Successful Insects.