Widgets Magazine

Protesters disrupt meat-eating debate

A group of animal rights protesters disrupted the debate between Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey and The Good Food Institute director Bruce Friedrich, representing the argument that meat is unethical and unhealthy, and Stanford debaters Jack Affa ’18 and Jimmy Zhou ’18, representing the negative. The event, which was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., was delayed 20 minutes by the protesters.

Event organizers — which included Stanford People for Animal Welfare (PAW), Stanford Center for Ethics in Society, Speakers Bureau and Students for a Sustainable Stanford — had some awareness that there might be protesters at the event.

The first interruption came from an individual woman who asked the crowd to be quiet for a moment. The woman held up pictures of closely-confined chickens she claimed to be from a meat vendor that sells to Whole Foods. The woman emotionally implored the crowd and Mackey to do better.

The woman was escorted out of the room by security. As she exited, she asked Mackey if they could talk, to which Mackey responded “not now.”

Soon after the first protester was removed, another group of eight protesters from Direct Action Everywhere, rose from their seats, chanting and walking to the front of the room. The protesters carried signs reading “What is Whole Foods hiding?” and progressed through a variety of chants.

The reaction of the audience was generally unsympathetic, with several audience members booing or yelling back at the protesters. After about 10 minutes of chanting phrases such as “it’s not meat, it’s violence,” the debaters left the room.

Security officers filmed the action but did not otherwise interfere. After 20 minutes, the protesters left the room.  

Both the security officers and PAW representatives declined to comment, but PAW did confirm that the protesters were from Direct Action Everywhere. Prior to the debate, signs were posted declaring that protesters were not allowed in academic buildings, and security guards were spread throughout the Law School to check for Stanford IDs.

In his opening speech, Mackey commented that if the protesters had stayed, they might have found out they were on the same side.

There were no further disruptions at the event.

 

Contact Ada Throckmorton at adastat ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • James

    Although I don’t personally think DAE’s tactics are the best way to make friends and win hearts and minds, I understand why they do what they do. To bear witness to such massive suffering and see little sympathy from others can lead to a feeling of helplessness and the urge to do whatever it takes to get people’s attention!

  • Cruelty-free

    IT’S 2016! Why does there even have to be a debate about this??? If you have eyes that sees,a brain that thinks and a heart that feels, use them, damn it! Stop the madness and #govegan !

  • Rational Vegetarian

    I was in the audience when this happened. The reason why there was such an unfriendly response is because all of us (with the exception of the protesters) were there to watch a debate about the very thing they were protesting about and to have an open and productive conversation. Standing around shouting for 20 minutes is not a conversation, it’s a waste of time. I think it was a poor choice by the DAE to stage their protest before the debate happened and not after, since they hadn’t even listened to anything Mackey had to say. Their protest would have had a more powerful effect afterwards, calling him out on his hypocrisy after he argued against eating meat for the whole debate. The way DAE did it was counterproductive to their movement and made them look childish.

  • ThomasJules

    The fraud John Mackey and the rest of his company are engaged in needs to be confronted directly. John’s appearance at this “debate” was obviously an attempt by him to further their “values” reputation with elites & academia. cruelfoods.com

  • BetterThingsToDo

    Go and confront him on your own dime

  • CheckTheFacts

    Meat-eaters outlive vegans. No thanks.

  • Reality

    So can a being whiny toy-thrower who never learned to respect others’ time and space

  • Cruelty-free

    The Nurses’ Study, The China Study, The Seventh Day Adventist Study, (all huge, long term , peer reviewed studies) “Blue Zones” all seem to contradict your statement. Vegetarians/vegans live 6 -10 years longer than meat-eaters. At best, I have found a couple of studies that suggest a very low-meat consumption diet (only chicken and fish) also contribute to longevity. But even if longevity was equal between vegans and meat-eaters, why eat meat when it’s procurement from birth to death yields a life of pain, suffering, misery, and abuse for animals? Especially when a perfectly healthy, tasty and cruelty free plant-based option is available? Watch “Earthlings” or “Forks over Knives” and see how your meat gets to your plate. If you can’t watch it, then maybe you shouldn’t be eating meat.

  • CheckTheFacts

    The Nurses’ Study, The China Study, The Seventh Day Adventist Study, (all huge, long term , peer reviewed studies) “Blue Zones” all seem to contradict your statement.

    “Blue Zones” is not a scientific concept; I am unclear what you have in mind. And they aren’t huge; they range from a few thousand to at most just over a hundred thousand.

    The Nurses’ Study followed just over 100 000 women; the only results I have found show that a daily consumption of red meat above a threshold increases mortality.

    The China Study is not a study but a book which was criticized by the scientific community. It also states that “hardly any study has done more damage to the nutritional landscape than the Nurses’ Health Study, [which should] serve as a warning for the rest of science for what not to do”! The references do not support the claims made, and the book is unable to explain groups like the Masai and Eskimo who have diets high in meat but low rates of disease.

    Vegetarians/vegans live 6-10 years longer than meat-eaters.

    No, but the average Californian Seventh Day Adventist who regularly attends church on Saturdays and also spends time with family, exercises, maintains a low body weight, eats dairy, eggs, nuts, soya and tomatoes, avoids white flour, and abstains from tobacco and alcohol does live longer than the average meat-eater.

    Correlation is not causation. Vegetarian studies often do not find increased mortality among non-vegetarians¹⁻⁴.

    Yes, eating processed red meat will eventually kill you, but moderate meat consumption (up to 100 g per day) is not associated with increased mortality.⁵

    But even if longevity was equal between vegans and meat-eaters

    It is not equal. Moderate (as opposed to average) meat-eaters live longer and appear to have a higher quality of life: vegetarians suffer from more chronic conditions including allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression, diabetes, migraines, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer. They had more doctors visits, a higher need for health care, dimmer assessments of their own health, and poorer social relationships.⁶

    In fact, the best study yet (EPIC, around half a million people), shows that those with the lowest risk of death eat 10–20 g/day of red meat and 20–80 g/day of poultry.⁷

    why eat meat when it’s procurement from birth to death yields a life of pain, suffering, misery, and abuse for animals?

    With some unfortunate exceptions, it does not. But if you want to be certain, eat organic free-range meat.

    Especially when a perfectly healthy, tasty and cruelty free plant-based option is available?

    It is not equal. Moderate meat-eaters live longer and appear to have a higher quality of life.

    This should not be surprising: like gorillas and chimpanzees, we are tuned for a mixed diet. We are closer in anatomy to the carnivorous dog than the herbivorous sheep.⁸

    Watch “Earthlings” or “Forks over Knives” and see how your meat gets to your plate. If you can’t watch it, then maybe you shouldn’t be eating meat.

    Or maybe we should not be watching one-sided, cherry-picked activist propaganda⁹ that is unrepresentative of reality?

    ——
    ¹http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736L
    ²http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-04-0696
    ³http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12001975
    ⁴www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10479227
    ⁵http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22333876
    ⁶http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24516625
    ⁷http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-63
    ⁸http://www.paleodiet.com/comparison.html
    ⁹http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/