The Princetonian reported:
[Princeton] University should brace itself for a new wave of vegetarianism on campus, if Thursday night’s 75-35 vote against eating meat on ethical grounds is any indication. Bruce Friedrich, vice president for policy and government affairs for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and bioethics professor Peter Singer presented the affirmative case on the resolution, “This house believes that eating meat is unethical,” at a debate sponsored by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society on Thursday evening. Visiting Fellow for the James Madison Program Peter Wicks and Matt Sanyour ’11, chair of the Cliosophic Society, took the role of the opposition. The debate, which took place before a packed audience of more than 200 students and community members, touched on topics from the suffering of animals and the question of human superiority over animals to the meat industry’s impact on the planet and on food prices for the world’s poor.
Way to go, Singer and Friedrich!
What points did they argue in the debates? You can read the basic argument here: http://www.vegansoapbox.com/no-defense-for-eating-animals/
The losers of the Princeton debate whined about the loss because they themselves conceded the major point that factory farming is unethical:
Sanyour asserted that Singer and Friedrich had not addressed the essential premise of the resolution and had instead presented “a critique of the existing praxis in the meat industry, not a debate on the ethics of eating meat in general.”
The problem with the nonvegans’ logic is that “the existing praxis in the meat industry” IS about “the ethics of eating meat in general”. Virtually ALL of the animal products for sale at grocery stores and restaurants come from factory farms. I don’t mean 51% of meat, dairy, and eggs. I don’t mean 75% of animal products available for purchase. I mean 99%. To speak of nonveganism IS to speak of factory farming.
In general, eating meat = eating factory farmed meat. There is no debate. This is fact.
Only cockeyed logic that denies the practical realities of today’s food production would convince someone in a developed nation that animal-eating is morally acceptable. The evidence against animal-eating is overwhelming. It really, truly is, with or without animal rights philosophy.
If one wants to argue about the ethics of eating the rare and hard-to-find “humane meat,” they must first concede that the practical reality means that only an elite few will be able to do it.
Consider Jonathan Safran Foer’s words in Eating Animals:
“We shouldn’t kid ourselves about the number of ethical eating options available to most of us. There isn’t enough nonfactory chicken produced in America to feed the population of Staten Island and not enough nonfactory pork to serve New York City, let alone the country. Ethical meat is a promissory note, not a reality. Any ethical-meat advocate who is serious is going to be eating a lot of vegetarian fare.”
After acknowledging the reality that the promoters of “happy meat” are elitists, one would then have to prove that trivial human interests of taste, convenience, or tradition trump nonhuman animals’ interests in life, freedom, and the absence of suffering. And they’d also have to prove that the related consequences of animal-killing and animal-eating, such as increased violence, poor health, and environmental destruction were ‘worth it.’
Simply put, the burden of proof lays with the animal-eaters. It is the animal-eaters who must defend their actions, not vegans who must defend ours.