“Every day, thousands of innocent plants are killed by vegetarians. Help end the violence. Eat meat.”

These words, written last month by an Edinburgh butcher on a blackboard outside his shop and shared on a vegan Facebook group, led to a heated online discussion. Some condemned the butcher for seeking to blur an important line between beings capable of suffering and those that are not. Others took it as a joke, as the butcher said he had intended it. But jokes can make serious points.

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