CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's Lent, and for many, that means giving up red meat on Fridays.
But, there are several approved alternatives to fish that you may not know about.
First, the Beaver.
The aquatic rodent is legally considered fish by the church. It's not something many have heard, but it dates back to colonial times in Canada.
Jesuit missionaries insisted the church rule the eating of beavers as a viable option during lent, and it ultimately was approved.
Beaver is not the only rodent approved for consumption during lent though, the Capybara which is the largest rodent in the world, has also been approved. It is commonly eaten during lent in Venezuela. In Michigan, the Muskrat has been a staple of dinners during lent since the 1800s.
Also approved by the church for consumption, the Puffin.
This dates back to the 1600s and was first started in a monastery in Northern France.
Priests and monks ate the sea-going bird instead of fish, and the church ruled it was ok because it spends most of its life in the water.
Along the same lines, Alligator has been approved for consumption in Louisiana.
A parishioner wrote to the church, explaining since the alligator should be considered fish because it lives in the water.
The New Orleans Archbishop agreed and took the matter to the Conference of Bishops. They ruled the alligator is a fish and safe for Catholics to consume on Fridays during Lent.
The most confusing of the options you may want to look into is corned beef, and it's all because of St. Patrick's day.
Since it falls in the middle of lent, diocese across the United States have ruled Catholics can consume Corned Beef to mark the occasion and not violate their pledge to God during Lent.