If you are a researcher studying, say, concrete bridge structures, or microprocessors, then you probably wouldn’t have to be overly concerned about potential criticism from peers regarding the possibility that you might eat your research subjects. But this is not the case for all academic fields. Take for example, ‘Animal Studies’.
A 2018 paper published in the Animal Studies Journal (ASJ) asks : Should We Eat Our Research Subjects? Advocacy and Animal Studies , ASJ, 7(1), pp.180-205.
“The decision by Animal Studies scholars whether or not to eat their research subjects is, as our survey shows, an indicator of the extent to which Animal Studies scholars are willing to fundamentally challenge established norms, and whether they wish to stringently advance the wellbeing of nonhuman animals.
It is clear that the majority of Animal Studies scholars surveyed believe that the field has an important role to play in advocating for animals. Most of the respondents base their research on a personal interest in and commitment to animal wellbeing and for scholars who identify as vegan this also comes with an added prior commitment to animal advocacy, that in turn appears to shape their expectations for what the field should aim to achieve. However the data also shows that there remains a reluctance by many Animal Studies academics to fully engage with the consequences of human exceptionalism, which is demonstrated by the large number of respondents who still eat meat and other animal products. “
Bonus Assignment [optional] Can you suggest any other academic fields where eating the research subjects might be a contentious issue?
Research research by Martin Gardiner