It is literally impossible to be completely non-violent. One does the best one can, sincerely, always trying to get a little better or not get worse. That is the way this road of Ahimsa is paved and traversed to it’s peaceful destination.
The road is lined with more than restaurants, but let’s talk about the restaurants… At the beginning of the street you might even find restaurants which serve no veal, for example, nothing that is the product of extreme cruelty. On the next block you find no beef or pork – no “mammals.” In other restaurants you find no animal flesh at all, nothing with red blood – but lots of fish. In still other restaurants there is nothing at all which did not grow from a plant. In others there are things that come from animals, but do not harm or kill the animals to eat.
ALL of these restaurants are on the path of Ahimsa. Some of the people eating at these places are foolish, proud materialistic fools following fads or health trends or just being holier-than-thou. But most of the patrons here are good, sincere people – true locals, natives who actually live on the Ahimsa path.
As for specific questions… “is it OK to eat fish?” for example… well, eating fish and not eating birds or mammals is good. Can you be better? Of course! Because perfect non-violence is not possible there is nothing which can not be made “better.”
Is it better, more-nonviolent, not to eat fish. Yes, I think so. Does that mean that you have to do it or you are a second-class vegetarian, a second-class citizen? Well, the puffed-up holier-than-thou people visiting this path will definitely make you feel that way. Does that really make any difference at all? It shouldn’t. You have to make your own judgements of what you can do at your best and to what extent. It is always good to push oneself to give up a little more than feels easy, but it is not a good idea to break one’s own back.
Personally I don’t eat fish. There is no galactic reason why. I just don’t. They have eyes, they are obviously alive, etc.
Scallops? Make your own assessment. If I was facing this assessment I would first of all just say, “No thanks, it sounds gross.” People say it is “just a muscle that helps a shell open up.” That seems silly since the shell is not a part of a bigger organism. My bicep is just a muscle that moves my arm, I still don’t want people cutting it off and eating it. And if my entire body was “just a muscle” that helped me open and close my exoskeleton – it still does’t change the fact that this simple muscle is my entire body. I wouldn’t want it to get scooped out and eaten.
This is just how I feel. It doesn’t make it more or less objectively right or wrong.
Eggs… people say they are not fetuses but are menstruation. I agree. Every once in a while, they are fetuses which hatch, but most of the time they are unfertilized eggs, “Menstruations.” I think they are OK to eat. Some people who don’t think they are OK to eat will point to the cruel environment in which the eggs are factory farmed from chickens. I can see this point of view too. In that case, “natural” eggs are a good alternative.
You don’t need to impress the super-vegans who are in big-brother’s chair scrutinizing the molecules of your diet. Nor do you need to impress the ignorant masses who think “god how can you not eat this juicy delicious hamburger, dude? I don’t know how you can do it, man.” You don’t need to impress anyone. Just be kind. Live on the path of Ahimsa by being as non-violent as possible.