The University of Iowa student government group, UISG, partnered with the Office of Sustainability to do an informational campaign highlighting meat-free options in the dining halls. This was done as part of the semester theme “Climate of Change." The menu was not modified, the students just provided information on the environmental impacts of meat consumption and production.
In response, the livestock industry representatives are behaving like the sky is falling. They have written a letter to the editor. Industry supporters are using social media to say negative things about the students and the University of Iowa. They are accusing the students of not respecting farmers. They have even complained to the Board of Regents and asked them to stop the campaign.
I think this is an extreme reaction to a low-key initiative, which is very appropriate and is consistent with the semester theme. I hope that the Board of Regents support the UISG and free speech. Instead of trying to shame and silence the students, the livestock industry needs to face the facts.