Dr. David Nibert, a sociology professor at Wittenberg University, described in an article in The Daily Beast his attempt to save nine lambs from being used for food on the Antioch College Farm.In the Big Ten, we have something called the College of Agriculture, and there was a time when the University of Wisconsin's Babcock Hall ice cream was locally sourced, right there on the west campus. The gyros stands had more conventional sources.
The Antioch Farm is a “working farm and learning laboratory.” The college intended for the farm to enhance the liberal arts education by allowing “students to experience, explore, and develop methods of sustainability, through its interwoven functions as an outdoor laboratory for curricular study and a living forum where student labor connects to campus dining and recycling.”
(Aren't we getting into Onion or Babylon Bee territory again? All that's missing is somebody at Antioch complaining about cultural appropriation if those lambs indeed go for gyros.)
It gets better.
Nibert also reached out to Antioch College President Tom Manley, demanding the college free the lambs.Higher education being what it has become, you know the fanciful thinking is going to proliferate.
“[Antioch’s practices] seek to educate by offering pragmatic, knowledge-based solutions to the daunting global challenges we face with regard to developing and sustaining healthy food systems,” Manley responded in a July letter, according to the Daily Beast. “They support a reasonable range of personal dietary preferences in our kitchens and they respect the right of individuals to make choices for themselves from what is offered, including seasonally, meat from the sheep (and chickens and ducks) that are kept on the farm.”
“On the matter of the sheep, at this point, I have made the college’s position clear and will have nothing further to offer in response.”
After receiving the response, Nibert created the aforementioned petition but also started posting fliers, which Antioch called a “nuisance” in a cease-and-desist order, the Daily Beast reported. The professor created a Committee to Save the Antioch Lambs and also obtained support from more than 100 scholars.It's not even Labor Day, and I can see that limiting my commentary to things that run on rails, with some economics, the odd bridge column, and some Oktoberfest isn't going to be possible.
“Lambs are not things, they are not tools, and they are not food,” Corey Wren, chair of the American Sociological Association’s Animals & Society section, said, according to the Daily Beast. “They are persons who care about what happens to them, just like us.”
“Is this how you teach students about compassion?” an individual asked on the petition. “No wonder why there are so many school shootings in this country. Lambs are actually not food. They are living, emotional, sentient beings who feel pain.”
Nibert’s efforts “have incited hateful rhetoric and harassment of employees and students from outside of the area,” a spokesperson for the college told the Daily Beast.
A pedagogical note: there are circles in higher education in which animal husbandry is a primary cause of all sorts of social ills. How on earth am I going to enjoy the final county fairs of the year?