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Veg Week highlights

The kickoff event highlighted the plight of animals and how they feel.
Cows can be moody, sheep can remember faces, chickens are good problem solvers and fish feel pain.

Those are a few tidbits animal behaviorist and biologist Marc Bekoff used at Coffman Theater on Tuesday night to urge the audience to rethink eating meat.

Bekoff's speech kicked off Veg Week, an event held each year by the student group Compassionate Action for Animals.

Animal behavior is central to what animals feel, Bekoff said. By watching them interact with one another, he said, it should be obvious that, just like people, animals have friends, lovers and family bonds.
Jhett Marchel, a sports management junior, said he probably would never "pledge to be veg" - the student group's slogan - even for a week.

"It's just easier to eat meat than to go out of my way not to," Marchel said. "And sometimes I just want to eat a cheeseburger."

Michelle Magy, a math senior, said she probably would never give up meat, as she munched on chicken nuggets Tuesday in Coffman Union.

"Me not eating meat for a week wouldn't make any sort of difference," Magy said.

After Bekoff's speech, the audience was encouraged to try a selection of vegan foods and to consider pledging to be a vegetarian or vegan for the week.

Alex Rydell, a mortuary science senior, ate a piece of vegan pizza and, with a mouthful, said he was considering becoming a veg pledge.

"(The speech) got me thinking about my eating habits and the ethics behind what I'm putting in my body," he said.

This is the third year Compassionate Action for Animals has had the event, which includes a variety of other meatless and animal conscious activities, such as a vegetarian potluck and special cooking demos
planned for later this week.

More than 470 people have pledged to be vegetarian or vegan for the week, said Gil Schwartz, the group's campaign coordinator.

He estimated the number would increase to 600 after Tuesday's speech. Last year, the number of pledges was about the same, he said, but interest has almost doubled since the first event, in 2004.

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