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Philosophy class debates 'in vitro meat' production in mock hearing

Professor Anthony Weston led a course that used a "Senate hearing" to measure student knowledge of environmental ethics.

Students representing cattle rancher interests included Colin Oxnard, Drew Robson and Abby Kelemen.


Students in a fall semester course on environmental ethics took part in Nov. 29 “Senate hearing” that offered an innovative way to demonstrate their knowledge of philosophical and religious implications of emerging agricultural practices.

Professor Anthony Weston organized the exercise on the second floor of Belk Pavilion where teams of students representing various interests – cattle ranchers, animal cruelty prevention advocates and more – took turns speaking to a panel of faculty and students who served as “senators” for the assignment.

The project was a role-play of a U.S. Senate hearing on draft legislation to ban "in vitro meat," a way of producing animal flesh for food without actual animals.

Panel of Elon students and faculty role-playing a U.S. Senate committee hearing on a draft bill to prohibit "in vitro meat" in a fall environmental ethics class. From left: "Senators" Nick Kuznacic, Cara McClain, Professor Anthony Weston, Lecturer Steve Moore, and Tyler Feld.

Weston's course, "Environmental Ethics," was cross-listed in the departments of philosophy and religious studies. About two dozen students were enrolled for the fall.

Eric Townsend,
12/13/2012 9:29 AM