Student or Learner
While other verbs are all present forms, this "could not bear" is the only past tense. Did the writer make a mistake or is it a low-possibillity, hypothetical present?
21)They start to discuss their views on P-chan and the issue of cooking her for lunch. The class is divided: those who could not bear to kill and eat P-chan, and those who argue that they should stick to the original plan. While some students argue that P-chan is more than a pig, that she is a friend and even a member of the class, other students argue that when a pig reaches the age of six months old, it should be butchered for meat.
So does "could" mean the present or the past?