Meat Free Mondays: Having the “right” versus it being “right”.

Some context: “Meat Free Mondays” is an international campaign that encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays to improve both their own health and the health of the planet (also, y’know, not killing sentient beings unnecessarily). Sounds like a good idea, no? Apparently not.

My Facebook feed has been inundated recently with controversy over the implementation of Meat Free Mondays at Wadham College, University of Oxford. Indeed, this whole issue has been perfectly representative of Sayre’s Law: in any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues of stake. In a world with global poverty, famine, climate change, gender inequality, homophobia, and so on, not being served meat at one venue on one day a week seems rather unimportant. And correspondingly, the debate has been intense.

Today, I was ‘invited’ to like a page protesting the implementation of Meat Free Mondays (MFM) at Wadham College. As can be seen in the screenshot, the main argument seems to be that people should have a right to be served meat by college everyday. That is, it is morally wrong to infringe upon people’s liberty by not serving them meat on Mondays. This, I argue, is more than a little absurd.

Yes, rights are important. Liberty and freedom are essential values and we should all be prepared to fight for them. We should fight for women to be able to participate fully in an equal society; we should fight for the right of homosexuals not to be imprisoned and executed; we should fight to create a more sustainable future; we should fight against poverty.

Should we fight to be served meat at college every day? What is at stake? What rights does MFM infringe upon? The right to be served a meat dish? Well, you can eat in the other 99% of restaurants in Oxford. No-one is banning anyone from eating meat; they are banning the serving of it in one location on one day a week– and that is an important distinction.

The key question must be: is quality of life substantially impaired by not being served meat on one day a week?

I’d be interested in hear some compelling reasons for this, because I really cannot think of any.

In fact, all I can think of is the question on the other side of the coin: is quality of life substantially impaired by allowing meat to be served every day? And clearly the answer is yes.

This is not the place to go into detail for arguments for vegetarianism. Suffice it to note that eating meat causes substantial and overwhelming pain to animals; is an unsustainable approach to eating; is a major factor in contributing to climate change; and directly leads to the lack of food in the world.

I don’t believe that people have the ‘right’ to eat meat everyday. But even if you do: do you really think it is morally right to do it? And even more pressingly: do you really think it is morally right to actively campaign for it?

Of all the problems in the world, is the ‘right’ to be served meat every day the battle we really need to be fighting?

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25 Responses to Meat Free Mondays: Having the “right” versus it being “right”.

  • Dave Frame says:

    It’s very clear what they’re campaigning for – for the preservation of choices they already have. They aren’t asking/telling you what to eat, and they’re asking you to accord them the same respect. You may disagree with their choices, but it’s not obviously your place to restrict their choices. Your post misses the centrality of this obvious point. (And it also misses the point that staff eat at subsidised rates in College, so the “choice” they have to eat elsewhere comes at a potentially significant financial cost to folks who often aren’t as well-healed as Oxbridge students…)

    Personally, I put pluralism/respecting diversity above lots of specific and contestable value claims, since I think it’s more important that we live in a tolerant society that rubs along ok than that we live in any one group’s idea of paradise. So while Sharia4UK, ALF, Oliver Cromwell and you may all want to insist that others ought to/must yield to your superior moral insight, I (and most others, I expect) think it’s important to oppose you. (Especially given the power asymmetries between comparatively privileged Oxbridge students and College staff.)

    • Andrews says:

      There is a way of reconciling those who don’t want to see industrial meat on the menus and those who don’t want to eat veggie once a week: put arrogant and spoilt students on Mondays menu.

      Shht! don’t tell this to anybody: if Oxfam reads this they might be able to eradicate malnutrition once and for good!

      • Anders Sandberg says:

        I hope these are free range students, and not those factory educated ones. Besides, there are issues with water footprints and food miles.

        • Dave Frame says:

          Actually food miles are a bad idea. You’re better off considering a life-cycle analysis which includes all the inputs required to grow and nourish the animal, not just those required to transport the edible bits of their carcass. Basically the food miles thing is just protectionist mumbo-jumbo – deeply prejudiced against the geographically challenged.

    • Anders Sandberg says:

      Once one gets a choice, does one have a right to preserve it? Assuming nothing has actually changed in terms of the ethical, environmental or economic impact of meat (if it had, that would presumably provide reasons to update the policy on its own) what really seems to matter is if there was a *promise* of a choice. If I get promised a choice between different dishes every day, removing that choice is a breach of the promise. If one of the choices is bad (for me, for others, for the world) that might be a reason to convince me to stay away from it or even update the policy, but clearly that has to be done in a way that respects the initial promise.

      But what if the choice was not promised, it was just there? Now there does not seem to be any ethical reasons to keep the choice; the only things that matter is whether the choice is causing bad things. Of course, respect for people involved means that they should probably be consulted so that the decisions represent the stakeholders (who might indeed be divided about what choices to keep or not: that is basically just a group decision-making problem).

      I think there is lots of status quo bias muddling this discussion (after all, the British delight in traditions). We can do the reversal test and imagine a college that has always had meat-free Mondays ever since it was founded in the middle ages. Now we can consider whether to change this ancient tradition: would the delight of the meat-eaters and the option to choose outweigh the minuses of meat?

      • Dave Frame says:

        One issue is that staff aren’t (AFAIK) consulted regarding this decision that concerns them. A porter could work there 30 years, and yet s/he may have less say than an 18 year-old who has been studying there less than a fortnight. That seems inequitable. Secondly, complaining about status quo bias in an Oxford College strikes me as perverse – it’s like going to a rugby club and complaining that all they talk about is rugby. There are plenty of alternatives in higher ed in the UK for people whose sensitivities are bruised by being exposed to tradition.

        Finally, the issue is basically one of paternalism. No one is taking choices away from people who choose not to eat meat. People are trying to take away choices from those who do eat meat. The justification for this is always (ultimately) that eating meat is wrong. Vegetarians can mount ethical arguments for this position, but it is not obvious to me that mounting arguments for your position justifies coercing people who are not convinced by those arguments. (In democracies, we usually regard this sort of thing – the imposition of elitist minority views – as a pathology, rather than as something to be aspired to.)

      • Anonymous says:

        “Now we can consider whether to change this ancient tradition: would the delight of the meat-eaters and the option to choose outweigh the minuses of meat?”

        What a silly analogy, banning is not the same as unbanning! This is a discussion about liberty. Those who do not wish to eat meat on a monday aren’t compelled to take the full english option. Nor should they impose this on others without good reasons. Reasons that we feel are compelling enough to constrain someone’s liberty.

  • Ben Saunders says:

    I’m puzzled by their fairness arguments. I assume that some students are vegetarian and some are omnivorous, but I doubt that any are carnivores (in an only eat meat sense). Therefore it seems fairest to make all meals vegetarian so everyone has the same range of choice. Omnivores are still catered for by vegetarian options and, hopefully, the quality of those options will improve if everyone is served the same thing.

  • Ben Saunders says:

    I’m puzzled by their fairness argument. I assume that some students are vegetarian and some are omnivorous, but I doubt that any are carnivores (in an only eat meat sense). Therefore it seems fairest to make all meals vegetarian so everyone has the same range of choice. Omnivores are still catered for by vegetarian options and, hopefully, the quality of those options will improve if everyone is served the same thing.

  • Anonymous says:

    “No-one is banning anyone from eating meat; they are banning the serving of it in one location on one day a week– and that is an important distinction.”

    I’m not sure it is. A ban on something is a ban, whether it be in one location for one day or many for many days. It would be no exception to a ‘once-a- week-ban-on-the-sale-of-cars-to-black-people-at-’Mikey’s Motor Store’” that it is “banning the serving of it in one location on one day a week”.

    I think what you are trying to elude to in that argument is that not eating meat from Wadham College once a week is a trivial thing to complain about. Others disagree. For many it is the epitome of paternalism. It is interesting that they raise the idea of a rights-claim to meat; do we have a *right* to eat meat? I’m not sure we do. But our concept of liberty may encompass it.

    The most controversial argument that the ‘Meat Free Monday’ campaign makes is an ethical one. Meat free mondays is encouraging a lifestyle choice, a conception of the good life for others to take up. For many it is the idea of then *imposing* this argument on those who disagree that seems to hit at the heart of what we mean by liberty. Namely, an individual’s freedom to pursue their own idea of how life should be lived. Though your argument does not explicitly express this, it is certainly ironic that at the very beginning of your blog you stated that ‘Meat Free Mondays’ is a campaign that aims to *encourage* eating less meat, and yet you then argue to impose it on those who disagree – suggesting along the way that their concerns are absurd.

    All this line of thinking should be separated from a different argument ‘Meat Free Mondays *could* make, which is that eating meat is failing to uphold certain duties we have to animals. If animals have such rights, then in the same way Mikey’s Motors doesn’t have the freedom to deny a black man a motor car on a monday, we don’t have the freedom to deny animals their existence for a BLT. But that is a different argument, and one that you should probably petition directly to government about, and maybe not alienate Wadham meat lovers in the process…

    • Andrews says:

      To a significant extent, Oxford’s money comes from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which is a public body. There might be room to argue that with this institutionnal relationship comes susceptibility to certain principles, for instance the principle that if the State wants to promote something by exemplifying it, then those who are institutionnally bound to Oxford (i.e. because they work or study there) might have their liberties constrained by this exemplification.

      Here is an analogy. Suppose a State found it desirable to have about as many females are males in Parliament, say for reasons pertaining to equality of chances. Suppose moreover that a policy promoting womens’ access to Parliament is adopted, a measure with the effect of de facto limiting male access to Parliament. Would you, as a male deputee, complain about paternalism about what makes a fair Parliament?

      Would you also complain about paternalism if, for similar reasons, the Parliament obliged the MPs to send emails and to print recto-verso in order not to waste paper, etc.?

      It seems to me that all these complains would be illegitimate. And thus by analogy it seems illegimitate to complain about no-meat Mondays’ being paternalistic. If you consider no-meat Mondays as the effect of changes promoted by the State which the State applies on those to which it bears some institutionnal relationship (i.e. working or study place) in order to exemplfiy them, your problem disappears.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Susceptibility to certain principles”

        Why not principles of Liberty? That argument gets us nowhere.

        Your two examples do get us somewhere though because they highlight that your definition of paternalism is misled, and consequently your thoughts on my previous post are malaligned.

        Paternalism is acting in a persons best interests against their will. It is imposing a judgment value on how they are living their lives, and more specifically the actions that pertain to them. Meat free Mondays can certainly be considered a lifestyle choice – akin to vegetarianism – and it is imposing this lifestyle choice on people that is paternalistic; Going meat free can be considered a personal choice, based on your idea of what a life well lived is – one that treats nature with deference and treats animal welfare with concern (for example). An individual is at liberty to pursue that conception as much as someone is at liberty to do the opposite, except where we have a strong moral claim (such as a duty to animals, or a duty not to discriminate on the basis of skin colour). Your two examples illustrate this. The number of female members of parliament is not within the scope of someone’s personal choices for how they want to live their lives, and although excessive paper use could be considered so, there are strong environmental and cost arguments that could be made against it. These are not paternalistic arguments though. They respect the individuals choice, as do similar arguments that could be made in favour of meat free Mondays. They merely argue that there a more pressing moral constraints I.e. Boundaries to your actions because of their effects on others.

        I acknowledged all of this; I merely separated these latter arguments from the central argument that is paternalistic – which is that we *must* eat meat because it is a better way to live our lives. That is for individuals to decide, and liberty should protect that idea.

        • Andrews says:

          Ahah I like your arrogance! Time to do yourself a service: read my post again and tell us why and how paper-free Mondays in a institution enforcing certain behaviour on its members is different from a meat-free Mondayy at Oxford, i.e. why the justification does not carry over.

          • Anonymous says:

            You’ve completely missed my point (again). Read the last paragraph! Or I shall quote it again here:

            “I acknowledged all of this; I merely separated these latter arguments from the central argument that is paternalistic – which is that we *must* [not sic.] eat meat because it is a better way to live our lives. That is for individuals to decide, and liberty should protect that idea.”

            It is not paternalistic to reduce the provision of meat at a canteen for strong environmental reasons, or because we have established a duty to protect animal welfare. Likewise if we recognised that paper had rights, or there was a strong environmental reason in favour of going paper-free then we could legislate again. Liberty certainly has boundaries.

            SO, as my very first message stated, the tricky aspect to all this is that meat-free mondays is not just an environmental concern. It is also an argument about living a healthy life, or an argument about the rights of animals not to be eaten. The latter is not something that is established as a political duty; we, as individual’s, only have limited duties to animals and it is recognised that we are allowed to eat them. So a substantial portion of meat free mondays’ argument lies is asking people to rethink their personal choices, to join the side of animal rights activists or vegetarians or whatever. You shouldn’t enforce that upon people. It is their decision to make. In exactly the same way you wouldn’t enforce ‘omnivorism’ on a vegan. You can argue to establish animal rights, but that is not what meat free mondays aims to do; it is in large part a lifestyle choice.

            This is the *paternalistic aspect* to meat free mondays. The bit that constrains liberty improperly. The bit that you seem to conflate with say, arguments about minimising pollution. *That* argument is certainly one reason to reduce meat in a canteen. So – AS I SAID ABOVE – I am merely separating the arguments. I am not suggesting meat free mondays is a write off. So some of the justifications DO carry over. But your original argument was saying that reducing paper was paternalistic but okay, so mfm – albeit paternalistic – is okay. I contested that. Paper free places is not paternalistic, and I have explained why again. I think you understand my argument because you omitted the female parliament example after I explained it to you.

            • Andrews says:

              It is not paternalistic to reduce the provision of meat at a canteen for strong environmental reasons, or because we have established a duty to protect animal welfare

              I appreciate this acknowledgement.

              SO, as my very first message stated, the tricky aspect to all this is that meat-free mondays is not just an environmental concern. It is also an argument about living a healthy life, or an argument about the rights of animals not to be eaten.

              So environmental reasons but but not the alleged “rights” of animals justify meat-free Mondays at Oxford?

              You seem to like to draw distinctions. Here is a reason not to draw a distinction where you draw it: the intrinsic values of the environment that constitute reasons to protect it is the same kind of values that constitute reasons not to eat animals if, as many posters have suggested, not eating animals does not heavily impact your needs. In both cases, environment in general or animals in particular, what grounds the intrinsic values that constitute reasons to restrict our liberties are the morally relevant interests of sentient beings.

              Of course this does not require having a particular conception of “the” healthy life. It is simply an instance of the more general principle: do not harm if you can.

              • Anonymous says:

                Sure. I don’t have time to discuss your argument, but it is not paternalistic. You want to establish some rights for sentient beings. Like my original example of mikey’s motor store, it is an argument that is compatible with our conception of liberty. It argues that we have certain moral duties to others. Of course, your argument has much wider repercussions than a meat free monday.

                So just to clarify you quote me (the second one) and then say:

                “So environmental reasons but but not the alleged “rights” of animals justify meat-free Mondays at Oxford?”

                The environmental reasons I was referring to were those that affect others members of human society – pollution etc. As the rest of my quote explained, animal rights are not established, but human ones are. But you make an argument that challenges that – explaining how environmental concerns (as you conceive of them) translate to animal rights. Fair enough. As I said, I don’t have time to discuss that, but I can at least understand it.

                • Andrews says:

                  You almost got it right, Anonymous: this kind of argument (cf. Peter Singer for the general line of thought behind it) does not per se establish legal rights for all sentient creatures; rather, it establishes moral rights, or in other terms, it protects morally relevant interests of non-human creatures under moral obligations humans have toward them.

                  Moreover, you are right that if this kind of argument goes through, much more than meat-free Mondays at Oxford is in order. But in addition to the premise, defended in a previous post of mine, that institutions are right to enforce measures that limit the liberties of those on which they have a legitimate authority, i.e. students and staff in the context of Oxford, provided that this limitation protects morally relevant interests without harming equally morally relevant interests of those whose liberties are thus limited, it provides a reason not to construe the meat-free Mondays at Oxford as paternalistic.

                  Now I don’t know nor care about what was actually on the mind of those that have decided the meat-free Mondays. I am just saying that the accusation of paternalism is premature and/or futile.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Your argument is establishing legal rights. The foundation of which is a moral duty established by Singer (or whoever); How else are we to understand a governments imposition of a persons duty of care to animals? I think that was a confused statement.

                    Your provision for government authority fails to acknowledge that we have a ‘morally relevant interest’ in liberty itself. If we have a morally relevant interest in liberty then no decision an authority ever makes – that limits liberty – can go ‘without harming equally morally relevant interests’. What do you mean by equal? Equal in number? Equal in type of interest? Equal in that those interest are also morally relevant? I am not sure you could give me a situation where morally relevant interests are ever not ‘harmed’ in a policy decision (what do you mean by harmed?). Just a basic preference for one thing over another is an ‘interest’ and given that no policy has ever been unanimous I can’t think of any policy that does not go ‘without harming equally morally relevant interests’.

  • Owen Schaefer says:

    I understand and appreciate Dave Frame’s point about college staff and their voices in this. I also understand (while disagreeing with) the substantive objection – some people think that eating meat is perfectly ethical/environmentally friendly, and so there’s no good reason for the college to have meat-free Mondays. However, vis-a-vis students, I’m a little confused by the liberty argument against meat-free Monday in hall. Generally, students don’t have a right to a particular food choice. Case in point: if the college decided that it wouldn’t be serving filet mignon because it’s too expensive, surely there would be no liberty-based cause for complaint? It’s true that meat is a broader category than filet mignon, but I’m not sure that’s relevant – we could imagine a college declining to serve fish for similar reasons, and few would find a liberty-based problem with that.

    Maybe people think considerations like cost are acceptable justifications for picking a particular menu, while ethics/the environment are not. But why would that be so? I suppose you could say the college is imposing its particular value-system on students with ethics, but not cost – liberty is infringed when such moral norms are enforced, and not when financial ones are. But that need not be the case; the college could claim that it is not trying to make students more ethical, but merely avoid causing suffering and environmental degradation to third parties associated with meat. Moreover, ethics seems perfectly relevant to decisions that affect students. Just as (say) the college might fairly turn down a vendor with a history of labor rights abuses, it’s within the college’s prerogative to turn down a vendor whose product (meat) as a matter of course involves animal rights abuses.

    • Dave Frame says:

      Hi Owen, thanks for replying. To me things like your cost analogy* avoid the central issue: one group disapproves of another groups choices, and seeks to circumscribe them wherever possible. This is illiberal. Doesn’t the issue turn on the relative weights one places on this illiberal move, exacerbated as it is by staff disenfranchisement in decisions that are relevant to them, versus the issue of animal suffering?

      For many (most?) posters here, the latter wins. For me it doesn’t. I don’t think this amounts to the position that “some people think that eating meat is perfectly ethical/environmentally friendly, and so there’s no good reason for the college to have meat-free Mondays” – I accept there are costs to eating meat; I just give them less weight than those associated with circumscribing people’s choices. That’s different from thinking that because some people think x, x must be ok.

      *Cost constraints are morally uncontroversial – everyone understands the need to live within a budget. Vegetarianism as an ethical position is nowhere near as widely accepted across society. I think this matters.

      • Owen Schaefer says:

        So, the claim is then that affecting students’ choices when that change is controversial is illiberal. But then the issue sounds like it’s really about the *controversy* surrounding the policy, which is potentially circular; people object to it because it is illiberal, and it is illiberal because people object to it. You could avoid this circle by appealing to, say, democratic proceduralism (connecting with the issue of staff disenfranchisement, which I agree is a relevant objection – not just to this, but the general deliberative procedures that evidently ignore them). Fair enough – those affected should have a say in the policy formation. Yet the campaign is about a vote itself; it seems the liberal requirement for fair procedure is then satisfied for the students – the question is, why should students vote against meat-free Mondays? (or maybe one thinks consensus is important – but then, the general voting procedures need to be amended to require supermajorities and this is a general issue of procedures, not particular to meat-free Monday) Appeal to controversy at that point just seems circular.

        You might say, instead, that the controversy is on other substantive grounds, but the existence of the controversy makes the policy illiberal. However, I think there are cases where the college is justified in limiting choices despite controversy. This need not be because the college disapproves of student choices per se – but rather, they want to prevent harms from college policy to third parties (animals/populations affected by environmental degradation). Again, compare: a college stops buying from a vendor because of significant labor rights abuses abroad, even though students like that vendor’s products. That’s not necessarily a judgment on the students who had been consuming the vendor’s products, but simply a desire to avoid third-party harms.

        Moreover, controversy over something that affects choices doesn’t seem sufficient to make something illiberal. There may be controversies over cost-cutting measures that limit student choices (say, ceasing to serve a brunch). Reasonable disagreement over the wisdom of the cuts would make sense, but it would be odd to claim that the cut is illiberal. Is the *moral* nature of the controversy supposed to do some work here? Why is that? And anyway, cost-cutting measures could be cashed out in moral terms too (ethical duty to ensure that the college has enough funds to maintain its most important priorities and doesn’t go bankrupt).

        Ultimately, I think your central paragraph suggests the real, substantive objection (in addition to the staff disenfranchisement issue): the benefit students get from eating the meat outweighs any ethical/environmental costs (at least that are relevant to the college’s decision, which may fairly weigh its students’ interests above those of third parties/animals). Students who eat meat likely believe this, and it makes sense to me that they would object to the policy (that lowers their well-being) on these grounds. So all this really just collapses into a general debate over whether serving meat 7 days a week is all-things-considered ethically acceptable in the first place. I think adding the illiberal objection, though, doesn’t really make sense and obscures the really important central issue of consuming meat that deserves to be debated.

        P.S. – Jim, I just noticed that you haven’t blocked out names on your screenshot; you should do so, as is standard to protect anonymity. The list of invites/likes is not evidently public (I couldn’t view names just by going to the site), and many wouldn’t appreciate their casual clicks coming in for strident public criticism.

        • Dave Frame says:

          The whole point of the vote is to constrain the choices of a group with whom you disagree. There are votes you need to have and votes you don’t need to have.* Votes you need to have pertain to questions such as “what side of the road should we all drive on?” and “how should we regulate this new-fangled internet?” and “what does a fair tax policy look like?” since these are issues where it’s clear that leaving these issues to individual choice will lead to bad outcomes (by any measure). But most issues, including what the porter has for lunch, are not this sort of issue. If there was one option for lunch, maybe it would be the sort of thing that you’d need to have a vote about. But it is not. Instead, it’s the sort of thing that elitist groups like to have votes about, because they back their ability to use their superior ability to mobilize as a way of coercing others through political processes. The Wadham vegos are the 1% here – politically speaking. [Schattschenider had some wonderfully arch comments about the capture of democratic processes by tiny privileged minorities - something about the heavenly chorus singing with an upper-class accent.]

          “Moreover, controversy over something that affects choices doesn’t seem sufficient to make something illiberal.” I kind of agree, but I think it depends… Some controversies require a vote because they require coordinated action (driving on left vs right; designing tax policy applicable to all, etc) and some controversies don’t. I don’t consider the former “illiberal” because the problem constraints foreclose solutions based on individual choice. Consider Charles Taylor’s example that people in Enver Hoxha’s Albania were freer than those in London because while the former were unfree to practice the religion of their choice, at least they didn’t have so many traffic lights to deal with. To me the difference between the two unfreedoms is that traffic requires coordinated action; while the practice of religion does not.** Freedom of religion is a (sustainable) solution to the problem of diversity of belief; freedom at intersections is not. I don’t see lunch at Wadham as requiring coordinated action. Options are available – why not let people choose? (Actually, I think freedom of religion is a better fit as an analogy for the meat-free Monday than any of the other analogies on this thread.)

          *Having more votes on things is not obviously better than having fewer votes on things. It depends.
          **i.e. the cost of anarchy on the roads is observed to be very high; the costs of religious tolerance are not observed to be very high. (This is an appeal to facts, not values, ie “you get better outcomes if you have allow collective decisions about x/market and individual decisions about y”.)

          Also, I think the meat-free Monday campaign is kind of disingenuous – surely an honest vegetarian would admit that the real end-game is meat-free everyday, not meat-free Monday. But that vote would be lost, so the campaign is built around establishing a beach-head and kicking on from there. There’s no reason to trust someone who is ethically committed to vegetarianism when they say they’ll be satisfied with one less meat-eating day.

  • Anthony Drinkwater says:

    From « the Intergalactic Mail », march 12, 2209:
    « Humanoids Dialbook protest challenges human-free mondays. »
    Left-wing anthrophile head of Hamwad College sparked this latest row at the prestigious finishing school by banning human meat from the menu on Fridays. « Despite the advances in modern production techniques human farming still produces long-term interplanetary environmental dysfunctions. And many of our students take the ethical position that regardless of humans’ demonstrated lack of moral consciousness and their blatant failure to prevent planet earth’s incapacity to sustain life since the events of 2119, it is wrong to eat the lineage of those survivors. The school wants through this initiative to encourage students not to eat humans.»
    Opponents lambast this as illiberal and dictatorial : « Do-gooders such as Dean Kumbwak are imposing a minority view on the majority », blasted rebel leader Soft Machine 394. « We want to be persuaded, not forced,» he added. « Besides, if it wasn’t for pioneer anthro-farmers such as FloYd Pynk 56 who back in the events days had the foresight to see a future for the human breed as humanoid food, humans would long ago be extinct. »

    • Dave Frame says:

      Don’t give Anders ideas. It seems pretty plausible to me that my descendents, eating lab-grown meat, will view my meat-eating with the same sort of moral outrage that we – from our energy-saturated mechanical-electric armchairs – view slavery. As it does with so many other goods and services, technological progress makes moral outrage cheap, convenient and widely available. [Not that this outrage is insincere, or wrong-headed. But it is socially constructed, and predicated on a certain level of technology.]

  • wayne yuen says:

    What right was taken away from people exactly? If we say something like “the right to eat meat” would the government need to invade other countries to supply themselves with meat if meat disappeared from a region? Okay maybe it isn’t a weighty right… But if its not a weighty right, then assumedly it could be trumped by other rights or concerns…. so why the protest?

    The right to choice? Should these students protest the fact that they don’t have zebra as a choice available to them for lunch?

    I’m not sure if there is any way to justify a right to meat.

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