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The ethics of eating

(article, Culinate staff)

In the age-old herbivore vs. omnivore debate, minds are rarely changed: Bacon-lovers seldom find converts, and vice versa. So as part of its new “Change My Mind” debate series, the Huffington Post asks the question that foodies love to squabble over: Which is more ethical, vegetarianism or meat-eating?

Instead of relying on an Internet comment-fest to duke it out (although there is that, too), the HuffPo solicited the opinions of two people on either side of the issue: Ellen Kanner, vegetarian columnist and Culinate contributor, and Daniel Klein, meat-eating chef and filmmaker.

Kanner argues that meat production is polluting, inefficient, and unhealthy, accounting for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions. Klein is of the opinion that meat-eating can be more socially responsible if (and only if) it is done infrequently and involves humanely-raised, pastured livestock.

While the arguments themselves are nothing new, what is neat about this debate is the format: in order to even read the opinions, you must first indicate your own bias. And when you’re done reading, you can then vote on whose argument was more persuasive — based on whether or not it changed your mind.

If you're a meat lover, and you want to do more than vote on the matter, the New York Times_ wants to hear from you. You've got another week or so to pen 600 words on why eating meat is ethical — and the entries will be judged by Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Peter Singer, and other eating ethicists.