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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 animals.

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.

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