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Gary Yourofsky's guest lecture about
veganism and speciesism
Radical animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky's guest lecture about
veganism and speciesism to a basic reporting class, October 17 and
October 20 motivated journalism students to reflect seriously on their
choice of diets as well as inspired some to react with scorn.
Yourofsky, who wore a gray Animal Liberation Front T-shirt, said he
wanted to eradicate speciesism, which is the killing of a species by
humans and to "reconnect humans with animals because when we were kids
we loved them." Yourofsky used a vivid lecture filled with historical,
biological, personal, and factual anecdotes and vignettes as well as a
graphic video of animal torture and slaughter.
Yourofsky said he was once like most people, a strong meat eater who
ate meat "because it tastes good," and he also admitted to owning a
fur coat in high school (in class none of his clothing nor shoes were
made from animal products). He said, he like many others, neglected
the negative attributes of eating meat and using animal products, that
is, the health risks to humans and the toll of millions of dead
Yourofsky said that it took him 25 years to finally realize that
animals like humans deserve the right to be free and live without any
form of domination. He urged students to "take off their blinders,"
and open their eyes to the injustice inflicted on millions of animals
each year. He said that through empathy people could eradicate this
injustice and view speciesism through the animals' perspective. His
video reflected on the gruesome torturing and slaughtering of millions
of animals each day in slaughterhouses across America.
Yourofsky mentioned famous people like Martin Luther King Jr. III,
Minister Louis Farrakhan, and author Alice Walker. All, he said,
adopted vegan lifestyles because they view the killing of animals as a
form of oppression. According to Yourofsky, the oppression of animals
is no different than the struggles they endured in their life times.
"Vegans don't consume, milk, cheese, eggs, or anything that had a
face, defecated or urinated. They don't wear animal products such as
furs leather belts and shoes," he said. He urged students to adopt a
vegan lifestyle and he skillfully used ethics, the environment,
history and health as the core principles in trying to persuade them
to change their diets.
Macavale, a Staten Island resident, said that Yourofsky's approach was
"too forceful" and that he shouldn't try to coerce students into being
vegan. "I tried changing my diet, but it's hard for me to change my
habits," said Macavale, who wore a green blazer with jeans and
sneakers. "I'm not a fan of vegetables."
Yourofsky's speech had a great impact on some of the students. Even
Macavale said, "I'm more compassionate about the animals' lives; I was
thinking about using two days out of the week for a vegan diet." Wang
also voiced some positive words, saying, "He changed my way of looking
at animals, but it takes time to change."
Yourofsky said nothing is going to stop him from doing what he does
and that he will continue to be the voice for the millions animals
affected by spieciesism.