Men defend meat

The NY Times is running an ethics essay contest they’ve styled “Calling All Carnivores: Tell us Why it’s Ethical to Eat Meat”. Submitted essays will all be judged by a panel of experts. All the experts are, you guessed it, dudes. (Thanks for the tip, E!)

Get it? Men are the meat experts! Men are experts on meat! Try to be mature enough not to explode into a fit of giggles over this.

[Disclaimer: magicalersatz is definitely not mature enough not to explode into said fit of giggles]

Now go re-read The Sexual Politics of Meat and roll your eyes a little.

Meat experts. . .

[post descends into uncontrollable laughter]

15 thoughts on “Men defend meat

  1. I do think it is short-sighted and narrow of them only to include men on the panel, but aren’t many of them famous advocates of vegetarianism? I think they are supposed to be an especially formidable panel because they are poised against the justifiability of meat-eating (and thus not mean who tend to defend meat). Anyway, it is frustrating that these radical and forward thinking dudes (Singer, Pollan, Light…) would not think about having women or other minorities on their panel. Carol Adams clearly should be on the panel, but maybe she couldn’t stand reading any such justifications? One might expect more from men on the left…

  2. Hasana, the title of the post is meant to be a joke.

    Yes, many of the men on the panel are famous advocate of vegetarianism (Singer, Safran-Foer, etc – Pollan isn’t an advocate of vegetarianism, though he does think people should eat less meat than they do). The point is just that they are – quite needlessly – all male.

    Which is still cracking me up. . .

  3. as if meat isn’t ubiquitous (read: subsidized) enough, thank god the nytimes has developed a contest to save us from liberal guilt-mongers and moral high-roaders! I hope the next one is called “Tell us why you think corn syrup is healthy!”

  4. I might add the name of Jean Kazez, who is an authority on the ethics of eating or not eating meat.

    There is a link to her blog in the blog roll.

  5. In looking at the NYT page for the contest, I notice that the judges, all white males, are depicted with line drawings of their heads, showing their facial features.

    At the top of the page is a group of black silhouettes of animal bodies. And below the drawings of the judges is a black silhouette of a woman’s body. Nothing like a subtle visual equivalency….

  6. I would strongly second Jean Kazez as someone who would be a good addition to such panels.

  7. I sent this to the “ethicist” at the NYTimes yesterday (

    You are probably unaware that within professional philosophy there is a gendered conference campaign underway in which all of us try our best to bring gender and racial biases in conference organizing to light in the hopes of trying to help increase the number of women and people of color in philosophy who are significantly underrepresented. Go here:

    Your decision to have 4 white male judges (all of whom I respect) and only 4 white male judges to determine the winning essay to defend meat eating is particularly disturbing in this light.

    I am a “practical ethicist” and have a new book out that addresses eating animals (and have been working for 20 years on these issues).

    You might have considered Breeze Harper, editor of Sister Vegan

    or if you really needed to keep this a male thing you might have considered Bryant Terry, cookbook author (Vegan Soul Kitchen) and chef

    This is such a missed opportunity.


    PS — Carol Adams has a great blog post here:

    and Jasmin and Mariann of Our Hen House have started there own competition here:

  8. We don’t have any evidence of the intentions of the organizers, so it seems very hasty to me to assume that those intentions are anti-vegetarian. All of the judges are opposed to factory farming on both environmental and animal well-being grounds and think that the average US-ian eats too much meat. At least two of them are outright proponents of vegetarianism. The panel doesn’t include, for example, Carl Cohen or Tibor Machan or Anthony Bourdain or the head of an anti-PETA organization or other more-or-less public critics of vegetarianism.

    If anything, it seems like this contest might be the sort of pedagogically-minded challenge we give to our students: Okay, if you think that eating meat isn’t unethical, tell me why.

    That said, the lack of women and POC on the panel is clearly a problem, whether intentional or not. Lori Gruen’s email is a good model, and I’ll try to follow it myself later today.

  9. Dan, I don’t think anyone is assuming that the intention of the contest is anti-vegetarian. It’s the all-maleness that’s at issue – and the all-maleness is particularly salient since what’s at issue is the eating (or non-eating) of meat, and meat is a very gender-stereotyped thing.

    As I said above, the title of the post is meant to be a joke.

  10. And even with this all-male fiasco, they couldn’t be bothered to get a single vegan panelist? You would think those “extremists” would be rather competent judges of such issues, at least as much as vegetarians are so considered. Lori Gruen’s email/comment is right on! Would’ve been amusing to see Gary Francione on the panel too.

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