“Meat is murder,” according to posters on campus, and it is the mission of UR Veg, a vegetarian support group on campus to let everyone know how vegetarians feel about animals.
UR Veg, who meet alternating Mondays and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Room 122 of Wilson Commons, have started an ad campaign with two main goals, the first of which is to “raise awareness of the suffering caused by the widespread and unnecessary exploitation of animals,” sophomore and UR Veg Secretary Molly Reed said. “Our second goal is to provide the UR community with information and examples of how to lead a healthy, happy and ethical life without animal exploitation.”
According to the Miriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, vegetarianism is “the theory or practice of living on a diet made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and sometimes eggs or dairy products.” Some people practice vegetarianism for health reasons ? especially after a heart attack ? but younger people often have other reasons for this lifestyle.
“I am a vegetarian because, like most people, I am opposed to causing animals to endure pain, suffering and death so that humans can be entertained,” UR Veg founder Nathan Norbis said. Eating meat is not necessary to human survival ? there are other sources of protein.
As a result, some see eating meat as a form of taste-bud entertainment. “Since we don’t need to eat animals, we’re better off health-wise if we don’t, and there are lots of tasty and more enjoyable vegetarian food options. I don’t support the meat and dairy industries, just like I don’t support other practices that bring more unnecessary evil into the world.”
Along with the health benefits Norbis mentions a few other perks. “The main advantage is you become a person who is consistently and unprejudicely opposed to cruelty and injustice, wherever it is found and whomever its victims are,” he said.
Undoubtedly the most controversial aspect of UR Veg is their advertising. Posters are often seen around campus asking why someone would eat a pig if they don’t eat a dog or a cat, and members of the group can sometimes be seen in the lobby of Wilson Commons showing graphic videos of slaughter houses. This has spawned much controversy on campus. “I think it’s unfair that they try to push their beliefs on others through their advertising,” freshman Jim Marra said.
Perhaps the most interesting results of the advertisements, which are made by the group compiled from images from various vegetarian sites, such as www.farmsanctuary.org, www.nyVegan.org and www.Veganoutreach.org, are the advertisements for UR CARN(ivores) in support of pure carnivores, as opposed to being omnivores like the bulk of the human population. The people responsible for this campaign, Bill Palin and Mark Koenig, both sophomores, are putting up the fliers to counter the work of UR Veg, but say they have considered starting a club.
One does not need to be a vegetarian to attend the UR Veg meetings, “Our goal isn’t ‘personal purity,’ so we have no interest in persecuting meat-eaters. We welcome anyone interested in reducing unnecessary animal suffering, regardless of what they eat,” Norbis said. Each meeting is pot-luck, and people can bring vegetarian dishes for the rest of group to try and recipes to share.
According to Hoss Firooznia, a faculty member, UR Veg is at the same time trying to make a support group and make the campus more vegetarian. “We simply want to reduce the needless suffering caused by animal exploitation, and a vegetarian diet is one big step towards that goal,” he said. “So we try to both educate people about Vegetarianism and provide support for those who’ve already made the switch.”
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