In 1987, Jennifer Graham, a 15-year old California high school student, refused to dissect a frog because she believed doing so would be immoral. She asked her teacher for an alternative assignment, but her request was denied and her grade suffered. Jennifer sued the school district, claiming that requiring dissection violated her First Amendment right to her deeply held religious and moral beliefs. A year later, California’s education code was amended, giving all California K-12 public school students the right to refrain from dissection and to be given an alternative assignment without penalty.
I’m an animal-loving vegan. So is John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. But on Wednesday night, a team of animal rights activists and I loudly disrupted Mr. Mackey (VIDEO) at a lecture he was giving on veganism. What is going on? As an investigator who has spent much of the past two years exposing Whole…
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 include 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.
Promoting animal rights and animal welfare is not a side issue. It is the immense, towering moral problem of our time. And all of us have the luxury of ignoring it, as long as savvy farmers keep the billions suffering in ceaseless torment hidden away.
An argument that relies on this rhetorical ploy–that gets to avoid defending its weakest points, and obscures differences and logical links between different beliefs–is exactly what we need to avoid. In order to formulate intelligent policy, we must seek to elevate reason over rhetoric–and always be wary of the motte and bailey.
But in order to actually reach that end, where we as a culture cease to view most animals as means to our ends, we need to push past the limits of Singer’s arguments and take a more rights-oriented approach to our fellow animals.
Representatives from the student group People for Animal Welfare (PAW) and the youth wing of the national organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA2) held an event called “I, Chicken” that brought students the opportunity to simulate being a chicken. Samantha Neuber ’16, an organizer for the event, estimated about 30 people did…
We know that reforming our food system requires forging alliances across groups.