Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Ethical Eating: Vegetarians versus Meat-Eaters
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will think about and discuss the pros and cons attributed to both a vegetarian and meat-eating lifestyle. Culture and tradition will also be brought into the conversation, including the controversy surrounding traditional cultural dishes that are considered by some as inhumane and abusive towards animals (i.e. dogs as food in South Korea). Short reading tasks, a matching exercise, HO questions, and a questionnaire will all be utilized to guide and inspire discussion. A pre-reading task on vegetarianism will also be assigned, in preparation for the lesson's various discussions.


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice within the context of the opposing dietary lifestyles of meat-eaters and vegetarians.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To expand Ss general vocabulary within the context of dietary lifestyles, dietary choices, cultural/traditional dishes, and the concept of ethical eating.


Warmer/Lead-in (18-20 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB "FAVORITE TRADITIONAL TURKISH DISHES." Elicit from the Ss some of their favorite traditional Turkish foods. Write some of the Ss' answers on the WB. Elicit from the Ss why they enjoy these dishes so much--is it the taste, the smell, the dish's connection to your family and/or a specific family member? Have the Ss share, during the conversation, the ingredients for the dish. Highlight how prevalent meat and/or animal products are in these traditional dishes. Survey from the WC the following information: 1) "Who here eats meat? How often do you eat meat? What type of meat do you generally eat the most?" 2) "Who here is a vegetarian or knows a vegetarian? Why have you (or the person you know) chosen the vegetarian diet? Is it easy or difficult to be a vegetarian here in Istanbul? Are there many vegetarian restaurants in the city?" Provide the Ss with some pretty amazing facts about meat consumption (in certain countries and around the globe). Write some of the numbers on the WB. --America: the average American consumes 120 kilos of red meat and poultry in one year; 10.9 billion kilos of meat are consumed in the US annually. --Turkey: in 2014, the country ranked 121st in the world in terms of meat consumption; 25.3 kilos consumed/person/year. --Globally: 58.7 billion kilos in 2016 were consumed. --It takes 75 times more energy to produce meat than corn. Have the WC respond to these statistics on meat and meat consumption. Are they shocked by these statistics or do these numbers meet their expectations? Why (not)? Do they think these numbers are too high--is this type of consumption unsustainable or sustainable globally? Do they think these numbers will increase, stay the same, or decrease in the future? Why (not)?

Exposure (18-20 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Divide the WC into groups and have them read two opposing opinions on whether or not to eat meat. Instruct the Ss to respond to the differing opinions in the text--do they agree with the 'Yes' or 'No' side--and answer the main question following the reading ('Do you think it is natural, or unnatural, to be a vegetarian?'). Following reading and discussion, bring the groups together for WC FB. Ask the WC some more questions, building off of the text. 1) "Do animals really 'face the prospect' of a premature death?" "Are animals' deaths ever premature, if this is a natural process on the food chain?" 2) "Do you think animals are ever aware that they are destined to be eaten?" 3) "What do you think would happen to all of the food animals (sheep, cows, etc.) if the number of vegetarians in the world increased dramatically?" 4) "What do you think would happen to all of the food animals (sheep, cows, etc.) if everyone was a vegetarian?" Do you think all of the food animals would go away?" 5) "How well would you say food animals are treated in Turkey?" "Are you happy with the way food animals are treated in Turkey?" 6) "Do you think it is hypocritical to treat animals well and then kill them and eat them? Do we treat anything or anyone well before killing them, besides food animals?" (i.e. prisoners on death row)

Productive Task: Concerned Citizen Questionnaire (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Provide Ss with the 'Concerned Citizen' questionnaire HO. Instruct the Ss to answer the questionnaire first, on their own, and tally their answers for a score. Write on the WB the scoring system for this activity (3 points for A; 2 points for B; 1 point for C). Then have them walk around the room and talk with their fellow peers. "Share your questionnaire with your fellow peers. Explain why you answered each question the way you answered it. Find someone in the room that has a similar score to yours." Bring the WC together and elicit from certain groups their score. Request the rationale behind their answers. Provide the WC with their questionnaire's scoring results (19 + more: you are very concerned about the quality of what you eat; 14-18: not too bad but you could do better, improve on what and how you eat; 11-13: you have some good eating habits but you really must try to improve; less than 11: you don't seem to care at all about what you eat). Focus specifically on the subject of GMOs, organic food, and free range animal products. "Can we really trust the advertisement on food products? How do we know that a free range egg producer actually allowed their chickens to live and feed outside of a penned-in area? The consumer's definition of 'free range' can be quite different from industrial standards (e.g. free-range as an open door to the chicken coop and a gravel pad with no vegetation that the chickens can walk around in for 5 minutes)."

IF TIME Productive Task: Unusual Foods and Cultural Dishes (16-18 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

"We have been talking about a general, ethical concern for what we eat--for the animals that we eat. Culture and society have a big influence on this decision of what we eat. If our traditional, cultural dishes use a lot of meat and meat products, this generally influences our decisions on what meat we eat--if we eat any meat--and how we eat that meat." In the 'Concerned Citizen' groups, distribute the HO on 'Unusual Cultural Foods.' Instruct the Ss to discuss with each other and answer the 4 questions on unusual foods and culturally-specific unusual foods (i.e. traditional dishes). Bring the groups together for WC FB. Share the T's own answers and individual experiences. Upon completion of the above activity, instruct the Ss in their groups to match 6 unusual traditional dishes with their country of origin. Provide the answer key on the WB. Elicit a response from the WC about the nature of the dishes and their ingredients. Do they consider any of these dishes disgusting and/or interesting? Would they like to try any of these cultural dishes? Why (not)? Compare some of the 'gross' cultural dishes with unusual traditional Turkish dishes. Why would a Ss consider koc yumurtasi (rams balls) delicious, but termites in fried tomatoe disgusting?

Productive Task: Meat Facts (15-18 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Refer the Ss to the pre-lesson reading task ('Veggie Benefits'). "What are the 5 main reasons for becoming a vegetarian? Which reasons do we agree with and which do we disagree with?" (T's Note, possible answers: eradicate famine and help feed the poor; animals will be treated better; certain food animals are smarter than our pets; it can help the environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and halting deforestation; a meat-free diet is good for your health). IF TIME: Distribute the HO on some facts about meat. Have the Ss in groups read and discuss these facts. "Now that you know a little bit about the positives of vegetarianism, read in your groups some more facts on meat and the meat-eater's diet on a global scale. Do you agree or disagree with Einstein's quote about vegetarianism, 'Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet'?" Bring the groups together for WC FB and to discuss and answer this final question. Encourage Ss to use the vegetarian article and meat-facts HO to support their argument.

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