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Cambridge College Removes Old Painting Depicting 'Dead Animals' Over Vegans' Complaints - Report

University and college canteens have long been battlegrounds for people with strong views on food and other matters. While some have removed beef for environmental causes or reviewed the menu due to cultural appropriation accusations, one of the world’s most famous educational institutions has now had to reconsider its historical decor.

A Cambridge college has taken down an artwork by a 17th century Flemish artist from a wall in its dining hall following complaints from students who were offended by images of dead animals pictured in it. As the Daily Mail reports, Hughes Hall removed the piece from Frans Snyders’ workshop, a copy of the Fowl Market, borrowed from Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum. It pictured a variety of dead animals, ranging from a boar and deer to hens and other birds, hanging on hooks.

The outlet cites a source close to the museum as saying that the college intended to demonstrate “sensitivity” to people who “do not enjoy eating meat” and that there was “no agitated situation”. As the insiders point out, the school realised that the 17th century artwork was not “the most appropriate” piece for the dining hall.

The Flow Market, sent to the museum for conservation treatment in 2018, is said to be a part of an exhibition dedicated to the art of food.

“Some diners felt unable to eat because it was on the wall. People who don’t eat meat found it slightly repulsive. They asked for it to come down. This exhibition makes the point that the debate about vegetarianism, about veganism, is nothing new. It dates back to the 1500s”, the museum told The Daily Telegraph.

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This is not the first time that university dining halls and canteens have been at the centre of debate concerning food and political correctness. Just this year, Goldsmiths College decided to pull all beef dishes from its menu, reacting to calls from students to counter global warming. Prior to this, another college at Cambridge, Pembroke College, pledged to review its catering over complaints about cultural appropriation against “world cuisine” dishes.

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