But activists say that the decision doesn’t take into account what the animals want.
‘‘An environmental ethic must consider our world’s flora and fauna as inherently valuable, rather than as simply a means to human ends,’’ wrote Bruce G. Friedrich, senior director for strategy for the advocacy group Farm Sanctuary, to the college president last month.
‘‘These are two animals who have served your college well for a decade, and for whom death and consumption would be a tragic betrayal,’’ he wrote.
Lunetta sees the controversy as a learning experience that has sparked discussions about reducing the amount of meat consumed on campus.
‘‘Nobody wants to see Bill and Lou die,’’ Lunetta said. ‘‘Everyone loves Bill and Lou.
‘‘It’s not like we’re condemning them. ... They've reached this time in their lives. Many farmers have to; they raise an animal, they name it and they love it, and then you slaughter it.’’