I have some beef with the UR Veg. Let me start off by saying that I am a vegetarian and fully support the noble goals of the UR Veg group. What is unsettling, however, is their militant pursuit of their objectives.

While studies have shown that converting to vegetarianism can lead to a nutritionally healthy lifestyle, that does not give us the right to force-feed our beliefs on others.

It’s sickening to me to see video footage of animals being slaughtered immediately after I walk out of Douglass, but it’s far more revolting to see that UR Vegers are the ones showing animal cruelty for hours on end.

The irony that an organization devoted to animal rights projects images violating them does not elude me.

But, unfortunately, that’s the point of their advertising ? to gross out, revolt and otherwise turn the stomachs of everyone within viewing distance with their scare tactics.

By showing graphic violence UR Veg is only making people resent them and distancing themselves from those they are trying to reach.

There’s a fine line between educating and brainwashing. Rather than bludgeoning those who may actually enjoy campus food, UR Veg might actually use a much better, less abrasive way to convert campus.

If you want to show people the benefits of being a vegetarian, show them the food. Set up your table outside of dining halls as you already do, but instead of saying that another’s way is wrong, show them that your way is right.

Offer free vegetarian dishes outside of dining halls, and people, regardless of dietary habits, will go out of their way to try something different.

Your members already bring various dishes and exchange recipes at meetings, so this wouldn’t even strain your budget.

Vegetarianism is a great lifestyle. This is the real way to win people over ?by showing people how delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals are.

To the UR Veg, I offer some wisdom ? simmer down and put your hostility toward those different than you on the backburner. It’s time to put down the placards and pick up the celery.

Follow in the footsteps of leaders of the vegetarian movement such as Paul McCartney, Jude Law and Michael Eisner by living a healthy lifestyle and encouraging others to do the same without condeming them.

For more information about vegetarianism, contact http://www.nyvegan.org., http://www.vegetariantimes.com or the UR Veg’s Web site at http://www.sa.rochester.edu/urveg/.

Schnee can be reached at cschnee@campustimes.org.

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