To eat meat or not: debate heats up

Patrick Casey

Eating meat is either a natural human instinct or a destructive part of society, said participants of a debate held Thursday at Coffman Memorial Union.
Meat eaters and vegetarians met to defend and discuss their eating habits in a heated hourlong debate attended by about 45 students.
College of Liberal Arts freshman June Pineda, who helped organize the forum, said five organizations were asked to represent the meat eaters’ point of view. However, no one from those groups were present at the debate, so members of the audience extraneously took their place.
The vegetarian point of view was argued by Student Organization for Animal Rights activists Matt Bullard, Jeremy Dunbar and Amy Voeltz, who are not University students.
John Dziki, a senior in geography, who came to the debate as a spectator, quickly found himself defending his and fellow meat eaters’ carnivorous instincts.
“Humans are hunters, we’ve always been,” Dziki said.
He argued that our ancestors ate meat and that it was only natural for humans today to do the same.
At one point, while Dziki was talking about the lack of compassion animals feel for each other in the wild, an audience member yelled, “Burger King is not survival.”
Dziki quickly shot back at his critic.
“What you’ve got here is a group of people who are so fanatically committed to their cause they will do anything up to and including killing people.” He used the burning down of the Alaskan Fur Company and the bombing of animal research institutions as examples of that kind of fanaticism.
Members of the animal ethics group said it is neither compassionate nor ethical for humans to eat meat. “Why do we call some animals pets and some animals dinner?” Dunbar said.
Members of the organization also argued against eating meat for environmental reasons. “McDonald’s (restaurant) cuts down 50,000 acres of rain forest every year” in order to graze its cattle, Dunbar said.
“Eating meat destroys the environment,” said Voeltz. “How can you go to McDonald’s and buy your 99-cent hamburger and say it’s OK?” Dunbar added.
Bullard also dismissed claims that there are health problems associated with being vegetarian. He said he hasn’t eaten meat for six years and has had no health problems.
Dunbar told the audience to think of the innocent cattle that could be saved by not eating red meat. “Think of the thousands of lives you have the power to save — and you sit back and do nothing,” he said.
Adam Sekuler, a sophomore at the University, also came to the debate as a spectator, but became an advocate on the side of the meat eaters. Although he admitted to being unprepared for the argument, he said if everyone became a vegetarian, “meat packers would go out of work.”
Mackenzie DeBoom, a freshman in CLA, said she liked the debate, but there was a downside. She said it was hard to keep track of the discussion through the arguing.
Marcus Nielson agreed, but said he got a lot out of the day. “It was fair on both sides.”