February 21st, 2167
The New York Daily
There have been cries from locals in Healy, New York, about taking down the statue of Jerry Whittaker. Whittaker was renowned in his time for his breakthroughs in the field of oncology, with his discoveries saving an estimated five million lives.
For the past one hundred and thirty years, he has been the poster child of his hometown: Healy, New York. After his death in 2073, a statue was erected in his honor; however, at a recent town hall meeting Friday, his legacy has come into question.
A group of students at Heatherheight University in Healy have taken issue with the prominent display of an omnivore in the town center. They submitted a petition calling for the removal of the statue last week which prompted the town council to move ahead with setting a date, February 27th, for a vote on the future of the statue.
"The statue whitewashes the history of Whittaker. It was well known the horrors of the factory farming system in Whittaker's time yet he continued to engage in an omnivorous lifestyle. He once said that he considered moving away from meat consumption but then claimed, he would miss bacon and cheese a little too much, laughing about it with the interviewer. We want the statue removed. It makes no sense to celebrate someone who supported the genocide and torture of animal lives," said Michael, a third-year at Heatherheight, who spoke during the meeting in support of the removal.
Others disagree. Owner of Smith's Bakery on Lever street, John Gill said, "It's ridiculous. They try to cancel people for anything and everything these days. Back then, that kind of stuff was normal. We're going to have to take down every statue in the world if we continue down this road."
There are some who favor a middle of the road approach where the statue would be kept but a new paragraph be added to the description at the foot of the statue. It would explain some of the moral complexity of Whittaker's history. Alyson Regalia, librarian at Winchester explained, "We're just asking that this blindspot of Whittaker be included somewhere in the memorial to show that even noble people can engage in heinous acts. It's possible to honor his legacy while acknowledging even Whittaker had faults."
The fate of Whittaker's statue remains to be seen. All town council members have been quiet about how they will vote on the 27th.
But even if the statue remains up, the question of how to reconcile with the history of factory farming and the legacy of those who supported it remains an important one.