What goes into the production of a quarter pound burger? According to J.L. Capper in The Journal of Animal Science, 6.7 pounds of feed, 52.8 gallons of drinking water, 74.5 square feet of grazing, and the equivalent amount of energy it takes to run a microwave for 18 minutes. The average American eats approximately 271 pounds of meat a year—or three, quarter pounder burgers a day. Meat is a tasty part of culture; it’s a part of our special holidays and our daily meals, but is the product worth the cost? On Thursday, October 9, 2014, at 7 p.m. this year’s Ruth Anderson Public Debate asks, is it right to eat animals? You’re invited to dig into this issue.
To answer this question, PLU will feature four debaters offering their perspective on the ethical, environmental, and health concerns surrounding meat, Dr. Karen S. Emmerman, who is in favor of the proposition (not eating meat), and Dr. Michael Schleeter, who opposes the proposition (in favor of meat consumption). These experts will be paired with two PLU debate students to help craft arguments.
Dr. Karen S. Emmerman, has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Washington with a specialization in ecofeminist animal theory. Karen is also a co-organizer of the University of Washington Critical Animal Studies Working Group, which aims to expand, enrich, and create new spaces for the public discussion over the place of non-human animals in society.
“This is an excellent opportunity to have public discussion about human consumption of animal flesh, a critically important ethical question that impacts all of our lives. It is also a wonderful and unique set-up for a debate where I have the chance to both partner with and learn alongside undergraduate students,” Emmerman said.
Dr. Michael Schleeter is an Assistant Professor at PLU with a B.A. in Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Biology from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Penn State University. He regularly teaches courses in ethics, social and political philosophy, and business ethics, as well as courses in early modern philosophy, 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, and the philosophy of race.
“Many have begun to consider seriously the ethics of producing food under such conditions and, indeed, the ethics of eating animals in general. I look forward to participating in a public debate about these issues in order to bring them more clearly into focus,” Schleeter remarked.
The Ruth Anderson Public Debate series is free to attend. It will be held on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University in Xavier Hall 201.