Today in Speciesism: Panelists at the Wall Street Journal’s “Why We Love Meat” event flee the stage when confronted with speciesism

WSJ why we love meat

Panelists at the Wall Street Journal’s “Why We Love Meet” conference.

This past Saturday, activists from the grassroots organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) disrupted the Wall Street Journal’s “Why We Love Meet” event. Here’s a description of the event, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ):

Meat is among our most beloved and contested foods. Putting the environmental and health considerations aside, we’ll focus on the culinary and cultural aspects of eating meat, its enduring appeal and shifting significance: from American steak and potatoes to British nose-to-tail cookery, from “dude food” to female butchers. What’s happened in meat cookery over the last decade and what will the next decade bring? A star-studded panel will discuss the pleasures and polemics of carnivorism. 
Moderator: Beth Kracklauer, The Wall Street Journal food and drinks editor 
Panelists: Elizabeth Karmel, Pat LaFrieda and Jamie Bissonnette 

One would assume that a “star-studded” panel of experts in meat culture would be prepared to discuss carnism and/or speciesism, and yet watch what happens when the panel is confronted by Zach Groff of DxE Massachusetts-Connecticut when he says:

“Every slice of meat and every animal’s body you’re talking about cutting up for the last 50 minutes was someone just like my little girl [holding up a photo of his dog] who wanted to live. And so I wanted to ask you, why do you support killing innocent animals like my little girl?”

Panelist Pat LaFrieda confidently responds that he can answer the question. Unfortunately, LaFrieda’s response is the embarrassingly typical: (1) Meat has protein; (2) Animals were raised that way; and (3) Farm animals don’t have the same “characteristics, traits, and personalities” of our companion animals.

Maybe LaFrieda should spend less time cutting up the body parts of animal corpses and more time with animals at sanctuaries, where he can learn that all animals have the capacity to feel pain, joy, happiness, love, sadness, and that all animals have their distinct personalities and traits. Anyone who spends time with animals recognizes this. Regarding his protein argument, there are plenty of articles (like this, this, or this) that explain about plant-based sources of proteins.  Finally, just because we have been exploiting animals for food does not make it morally permissible to continue to do so. How can we ever progress as a society if we cling to oppressive traditions? Whenever someone argues that it’s permissible to hurt and kill animals because of tradition, I think of the powerful quote: “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”

But it wasn’t just LaFrieda who had a notable reaction (who, by the way, fled the stage along with the other panelists), many people in the crowd voiced their own thoughts about the disruption. One panelist decried the disruption because it was a Saturday. (Is there some rule that animal exploitation is given a pass on Saturdays?) An older male even ripped a poster out of an activist’s hands!

What do you think about the disruption?

EDIT: Jay, a student at NYU School of Law, was one of the activists at the event. Check out his thoughts on the disruption over at his blog: https://jayforjustice.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/so-i-just-disrupted-the-wall-street-journal-and-it-was-uncomfortable/ [Full Disclosure: Jay is my friend!]

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