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Messages from Students, 2003

Read the praise from students all over the United States who were inspired by Gary to convert to an ethical vegan lifestyle

To protect the privacy of students and other non-educators, their names and email addresses have been removed.

Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 3:18 PM

I just wanted to tell you that I showed my parents your video, and they both decided to go vegetarian. This is really exciting for me! I know that it is not vegan, but it is a big step for them.

Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 2:35 PM

I'm in Professor Berteaux's Philosophy class at SDSU. I loved your speech on animal rights and veganism. I did a research paper last year on animal rights and decided to become a vegetarian. After listening to you speak I realized that veganism is really the way to go.

Sent: Sunday, December 07, 2003 3:35 PM

Thanks for the encouragement to go vegan. I decided to do so that night that you came to speak at Saint Mary's college, and went home and purged my stuff of non-vegan items. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders/conscience that I didn't even realize was there. The past few days have been amazing and I feel great emotionally/physically. You made a huge impact on my life and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to come out and speak at Saint Mary's. I hope that you are enjoying a rest from your hectic schedule...it is so exciting to see people going out and making a difference and an impact on peoples lives.

Sent: Sunday, December 07, 2003 10:35 AM

We met when you did your presentation at Grossmont High School in San Diego. Also just to let you know, I've gone from vegetarian to vegan since Tuesday. I showed your tape to another vegetarian friend of mine last night, and he's now gone vegan. I have other friends who are interested and so I'll be showing them as well. I think what you do is amazing Gary, and I'm so happy that you do it.

Sent: Friday, December 05, 2003 6:10 PM

I just wanted to let you know that after the lecture you gave in Mr. Becker's class atFresno St. on Thursday at 2:00 p.m., I decided to go Vegan. I am so excited and can't believe it took me this long to feel how I do.

Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 2:19 PM

I'm from San Diego State University. I was the one who gave you my hunting license. I wanted to get a list of good vegan food choices. During your presentation you also mentioned "the vegan starter kit?" Can you get back to me as soon as possible? Thank you again for helping me.

Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 12:48 PM

You caught on that I tend to be philosophical -- and I can't lie, for I love philosophy. However, I do not use philosophical "what ifs" as a tool to justify or rationalize what I already believe. I find it unfortunate that such bastardizing of reason happens with so many people; I suppose it's our nature as humans not to want to change, and that's why people often put the blinders on when confronted with truth, like you said. Reason and philosophy should be used to shape the individual, not the other way around. If I approached every truth with over-rationalization and justification, I would not be a born-again Christian today. Thus, I've given up trying to make the world in my image, but rather conform my life to what I know to be true. So I respect you greatly for that; it takes great courage to change your lifestyle to suit truth, much more to continue sacrificing yourself for your cause like you have been these past years. Your actions give great tribute to your character. I am quite disappointed that Christians are not found in the foremost ranks of environmentalism and animal rights, since we know that God has given us an humans responsibility for maintaining the earth and its creatures. Christians, in my opinion, tend to use the dominion God gave man in Genesis as an excuse to do what we want with them, when we should really be the ones to understand that with dominion comes responsibility and compassion. Thanks for your presentation. You're a very persuasive speaker.

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 4:52 PM

I was in the Philosophy class at SDSU that you gave a presentation in on Tuesday. I was deeply moved by your presentation and have a few questions that I didn't have the opportunity to ask. First off, I want to tell you that I am incredibly interested in becoming a vegan due to your presentation. It was an incredible eye opening experience for me.

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 2:34 PM

Thank you for your thought-provoking and inspiring speech given in my philosophy class this morning at SDSU. I was wondering if you could please send me the list of your recommendations for a vegan diet when you have a chance.

Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 10:54 PM

I just wanted to send you a few words regarding your talk the other day in my husband's class at Cabrini College. First, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I honestly thought that I knew all there was to know—but of course, I was wrong. Ben and I will have been vegetarians for a full three years on the 28th, something we are both extremely proud of. We have tossed around the idea of veganism a few times, but much to my chagrin, not ever as seriously as we did the night after your speech. We made the mutual decision that although it would be hard, that we would pave our way down that road now. I really appreciate all that you do! After I heard your talk, I thought about so many things. I thought your speech was superb! I really liked the scientific and empirical components of it.

Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 3:44 PM

I want to thank you so much for finally opening my eyes to the way animals are treated. For years I've tried to cut meat out of my diet but I was so accustomed to it that it was hard, but now with those images and facts in my head I don't think it will hold the same attraction it once did. Now comes the hard part explaining to my parents why I'm not eating turkey on thanksgiving.

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 11:54 PM

Tonight my roommate and I took the first step! We went grocery shopping and bought tons of vegetables, Boca vegan burgers, Boca Meatless Chicken, Silk soy milk, Fantastic soy taco filling, etc. And as well we threw away leftovers that contained meat and are giving the chicken and hamburger we have in our freezer away! I am going to send my mom information on the protein content in fruits, vegetables, seeds, etc. so I think she will start to understand that this is actually a healthier way of life! Well I just want to thank you again for your talk at SCSU, the information on vegan food, and your help in my start to a healthier way of living!

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 1:43 PM

I wanted to thank you for coming to St. Cloud and giving your speech on speceism. As part of the vegan/vegetarian group here on campus, I feel your points were very essential for the St Cloud students. Thank you for being a strong activist, spreading the word, and reinforcing my life choices. Keep up the good work!

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 1:54 PM

I was at your talk today at Saint Cloud State University and I just wanted to let you know I thought it was unbelievable! I have always thought about becoming a vegetarian and like you said, the taste of chicken is just too good! But after listening to you and seeing those graphic videos, it made me think whether or not the taste of meat outweighs the health effects and ethical violations. When I came home for lunch today there was no way I was eating meat after hearing what you talked about. You definitely removed the blinders from my eyes! I think what you are do is great, not only for animals but for the health of humans. I was also wondering if there is any way I could order your video. I have some friends that I think would love to see it! I told my parents when they were in town my plans and I think it was quite a shock! My dad is a big hunter and my mom is worried I won't get enough proteins and vitamins. I think they will get used to the idea though. My roommate, who has been my best friend for 10 years, has always wanted to become a vegetarian too and I told her about the talk today and, I think after seeing your video, will for sure want to lead the vegetarian life now! I think you are changing a lot of people's lives in a good way, keep it up!

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 2:14 PM

I attended your seminar at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I thought your presentation was very moving and I am interested in changing my eating lifestyle. I was wondering if you could please send me a list of good soy alternatives. Because as you mentioned, some may not be as good as others and I don't want to get discouraged and start to think that all vegetarian foods are gross. Thanks a bunch! I appreciate it!

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 3:16 PM

Thanks for coming to SCSU and speaking to us on animal cruelty. It was very informative and good to listen to the other point of view. I will now think again on what types of meats I eat.

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 7:18 PM

I just wanted to say thank you for your lecture today. Your passion is inspiring! Thank you so much for your time and beautiful energy!

Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 10:06 PM

It was so nice to talk to you after your speech at St. Cloud State on Tuesday afternoon. I can't tell you how much I admire you and your passion that you have for animal rights. I also admire your intensity that you have for animal rights and your dedication to the animals. Thank you so much for speaking for the animals and educating people about the atrocities to animals and the benefits of Veganism. Hearing you speak gives me more of a push to keep educating people about animal rights and doing more. I have always felt strongly about animal rights but now it is time for me to do all that I can for those that can't speak and defend themselves. Thanks again, you are awesome!

Sent: Friday, November 14, 2003 4:01 AM

I met you inTampa at the USF lecture. Just wanted to drop a line of encouragement. What you are doing is a truly unique goldmine for the struggle against the commodification of innocent lives, be they animal or human. The message is universal really. We appreciate a speaker of your caliber coming to the likes of Tampa. The buzz is still in the air. Keep strong my brother. You know you leave a trail of changed lives. Your confidence is inspiring.

Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 12:29 AM

I wanted to thank you for your presentation today at UTA. I was a student in one of Professor Short's class. I am horrified by the cruelty. What impressed me the most about your presentation was your passion for the emancipation.

Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 12:11 AM

I was in Kris Short's philosophy class at the University of Texas at Arlington. I found the lecture to be quite intriguing and am actually seriously considering veganism. Your lecture really made me think more intensely about such things as animal rights and I'm glad it did. Any suggestions for a transition to veganism? Thank you so much for your insight. Take it easy.

Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 9:49 PM

I attended your lecture last Wednesday at U of M-Dearborn .Wow! I don't really know where to start! First, the lecture was much better than I had expected honestly. It pretty much confirmed things I knew but was so nice to see real people (you) that feel/think the same way. I've been vegetarian for over 3 yrs and flirting w/veganism for a couple of months and the day after your lecture I became officially vegan. My brain hasn't stopped thinking about everything you said all week. Your lecture was great. Kudos to you a thousand times. You're doing an excellent job.

Sent: Monday, November 10, 2003 6:37 PM

I must say your speech was phenomenal. I just watched it again last night on video, to motivate me to keep up the vegetarian thing this week. I haven't had meat since I heard your speech. You told me to email you if I needed some Vegan recipes, please send some to me. I want some options. Thanks again for speaking to our class Thursday at Wayne State. You're doing a good work.

Sent: Monday, November 10, 2003 5:23 PM

Last week you spoke to Jack Lessenberry's feature writing class at Wayne State University, and I am glad to say I was there to hear it. I was meaning to purchase a video of your lecture, but unfortunately I had to leave before you were finished. Do you do mail orders for your tapes. Thanks a lot, and I really enjoyed your lecture.

Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 7:39 PM

I was in Jack Lessenberry's class at Wayne State on Thursday. You said a lot of things that made sense and I wanted to buy one of your videotapes to look it over and show some of my friends. I haven't eaten meat since class. Hardly a long time, I know, but it did have an impact on me.

Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 7:18 PM

I am the guy you spoke to at the University of Akron about weightlifting and that bought a video from you. FYI: I haven't touched meat since your presentation. Thanks. I am going to write an argumentative paper for a class of mine supporting and arguing for veganism. If you could send me those websites you had on the board during your presentation that would be great. Thanks man!

Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 1:09 PM

I was one of the students in Professor Simecek's rhetoric class atOakland U. and I wanted to thank you for your presentation. Before seeing these graphic videos and hearing what you had to say, I never though twice about what I ate. I now look at things very differently. Instead of going to the OC and getting that Subway sandwich that I was craving, I got a salad instead. I also plan to make a trip to the grocery store and find vegetarian foods. Although I know it will be tough, I know I will be able to do this. Thanks so very much for inspiring me.

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 7:18 PM

I attended part of your speech at Miami University. It was really hard for me to see the images from your video. Thank you for your time, and thank you for speaking for the animals. I have been constantly thinking about your speech. I don't know how anyone who comes across you isn't impacted by you.

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 12:55 PM

I just want to thank you. I've been going back and forth with my decision to become vegan for quite some time and this was a swift kick in the ass to make the right choice.

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 5:19 PM

I was fortunate to hear you speak at U. of Michiagn-Dearborn yesterday. Your lecture was informative and motivating. I have been very distracted by the truth that you presented and would like to get more involved. Before you came to campus, there were some warnings that were floating around about you and how evil and violent you are and I decided to see you any way. I'm glad I did and consider yesterday a very important day in my life. I am on the staff advisory board at the Women's Resource Center on the Dearborn campus and there are people totally opposed to that operation. I don't understand why helping someone or preventing harm is so hard for most people to grasp. There's a woman in my office who confronted me when I walked in the door because she knew that I went to your lecture. She gave me all these excuses and lectured to me. I didn't really see any point and her reasoning was shaky. "Humans have dominion over animals", "the bible says this and says that", and "we need to protect animals" but "we need to test on them". Gary, why do you think people like her exist in the world and how do they live in their cruel, exclusionary minds? Your delivery is awesome and I mentioned yesterday that your lecture was the best that I have seen ever.

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 8:04 AM

I can't say that I really enjoyed your talk last night at U of M, due to the disturbing nature of the material you were presenting, but I can say that I have decided to finally make the commitment of being vegan. I have been a veg for about ten years, but I got to this point where I was like, "Is this really enough?" So, I thank you for helping me come to a decision that is the only ethically sound decision in my opinion. I left your talk feeling sad, mad, and very frustrated. For a while now, I have been wanting to make some major change, do some major action to draw some attention to the grossly wrongdoings of the agribusiness industry. I feel helpless, to be honest. So I decided last night to go vegan. Thank you for your time, commitment, and patience with your mission.

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2003 12:39 AM

Your lecture was fantastic! I was really glad that Debbie and I got a chance to stick around afterward to say hi. I think that it is fantastic that you are getting all of these gigs to speak, and I have to say that you are the best at what you do!

Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 9:42 PM

I attended your presentation tonight at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and first of all, I want to say thank you so much. I am a vegetarian, and you convinced me to make the step up to veganism. I want to be a vet so I can help all animals, not just cats and dogs and not just animals with human companions. I want to help strays find homes rather than work with breeders, and I never, ever, want to declaw a cat. Are these things possible? Is my goal realisitic? Thank you so much for you time and your amazing efforts.

Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 9:42 PM

I attended your presentation tonight at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and first of all, I want to say thank you so much. I am a vegetarian, and you convinced me to make the step up to veganism. I want to be a vet so I can help all animals, not just cats and dogs and not just animals with human companions. I want to help strays find homes rather than work with breeders, and I never, ever, want to declaw a cat. Are these things possible? Is my goal realisitic? Thank you so much for you time and your amazing efforts.

Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 1:53 AM

You visited Kris Short's philosophy class at UNT last spring. I was a student then and became a vegetarian in February as a result of your visit. I also gave up all my leather products and have only bought cruelty-free clothing since then. I am hoping to make the full transition to a vegan lifestyle, especially with the news that the FDA has approved the use of cloned animals for meat and dairy. The footage you showed our class was like nothing I had ever seen before. I would really appreciate it if I could get a copy of the video you showed or whatever your most recent information may be. I would like to show the video to my family at Thanksgiving when they give me a hard time about being a vegetarian. In addition, I would like to get more involved in the campaign for animal rights. I have a degree in sociology and I would like to work for non-profit groups that support animal rights.

Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2003 5:13 PM

First, I want to thank you for coming to speak at Miami-Ohio University. I have never heard such a strongly argued view from an animal rights activist. Your speech definitely made me think about eating meat, and I have been able to discuss it with my friends.

Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2003 4:08 PM

I am currently a Junior at The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. My brother attends Miami University and he recently saw a speech of yours on Animal Rights. He has been talking to me non-stop about why he has recently chosen to become a vegan and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions of mine so that I could decide whether or not to become a vegan too? I really don't know much about this veganism, so I really would like to be informed.

Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 12:48 AM

I was at your lecture tonite at seven o'clock at Miami-Ohio. I happened to decide to go to it at the last minute. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you for 'opening my eyes' so that I can discover the truth of the slavery, the mass murders, and the torture that so many animals are experiencing today. I listened to every word you said, every fact and statistic you gave, and the more you spoke, the more I felt like I needed to do something about this. I came a little late, unfortunately, and I sat down right before you showed the film. I didn't know what to think, or do, after seeing the holocaust of those innocent beings. I almost had to close my eyes to protect myself from the truth, but I knew that I had to watch it all and listen to you like I have never listened to anybody in my entire life. When I saw those chicks squirm as those men cut their beaks off, like taking off a piece to a car in an assembly line, I couldn't help but think of my dog when he caught his tail in the door and the sound and expression that he made, it was so much like the chicks reaction. I realized that my dog is like all the animals shown in your lecture, and even the animals not shown in your lecture. Every animal is capable of experiencing pain...these animals are like us in that one respect. Nothing should have to live a life like the thousands of animals in those factories. It is a life of slavery, torture, immense cruelty, and oppression which nothing should ever be forced to experience.

With this said, and everything you showed me, I have decided to become vegan. I only hope that I am strong enough to resist the temptation that comes with my acquired taste of the meats, fish, dairy, etc. I have crohn's disease, so I have to watch my eating to begin with. However, I was looking more into it and I think that by turning vegan, it would lessen my attacks (that of abdominal pains), which occur because of an inflamed intestinal tract. When you were talking about a human's intestinal tract compared to that of a tiger's, it made me think of how I could have attracted crohns. My intestinal tract, like you said, is too long and thus I do not efficiently digest or pass the meat (which I should not have digested to begin with). This is why so many people, who have chron's, have to have surgery...to shorten their intestinal length so that their food, like meat, can pass through their 'system' quicker so not to inflame the intestines as much.

Anyways, I want to again thank you. I want to do anything I can to help the cause and to stop what is happening to so many animals everyday. I will begin by becoming a vegan and anything else I can do...I will do, just let me know. I am passing the word to my friends and anyone that I talk to. The only time, now, that I am going to go to the dining hall is to have their fruit and salad, not their subs or chicken tenders. I just hope that I can be as mentally strong as you in turning vegan. I wish the best for you, and the cause to start giving animals their natural and much deserved rights. God will reward you for your immense compassion that you have shown for these innocent animals, that are looked at, by many, as either money or food(not as beings); and, the knowledge of the truth that you have passed on, through(I can only imagine) many rough and difficult times. "Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they both not fall into the ditch?" Luke 6:39...because of you, and the truth that you allowed me to see, I will not fall...thank you.

Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 2:48 PM

I am writing to tell you how great your lecture at NYU was on Thursday, Oct. 23. You opened many eyes to the need for animal rights. The speech was convincing, confident and inspiring. Hearing about such horrific animal abuse can be overwhelming for the audience members, but your humor eased the tension and made the audience feel more comfortable. Many attendees have told me how much they enjoyed your speech and that they want to do something more to help animals. I am proud to have coordinated such an event, and grateful to have booked you.

Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 4:09 PM

First of all, I was at your speech last night at NYU and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been a vegetarian for about 7 months, and think I am now going to go vegan. Can you give me some advice about what to avoid so I don't accidentally eat something with eggs or dairy in it? Thanks.

Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 1:02 PM

My husband and I were at your lecture at USF earlier this month. I have decided to become an activist and would like your advice and/or any information you can give. Any help will be greatly appreciated as I am new to this.

Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 10:43 AM

I just wanted to follow up our brief conversation after your lecture last evening at NYU with a few more words of thanks for your time and remarkable efforts on behalf of the voiceless creatures of our world. You are a wonderful inspiration and I wish you all the best in your life and future endeavors.

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 11:36 PM

I am from Rollins College (FL). You spoke on veganism and cruelty to animals in my Buddhism class. My dad owns a restaurant in Clearwater and, after a lot of pleading, he agreed that if I could create a vegan menu. Also, at the top of the menu, I'm going to state why I created it.

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 1:25 AM

A couple weeks ago you came to UCF and spoke to my environmental ethics class. In many ways I wish you hadn't because making the transition to vegan is proving difficult. It was so much easier to just go along doing what I had always been doing. Now, each purchase is a struggle. So is each meal I share with my boyfriend, who is turning out to be a real a--h--- concerning this matter. But I can't continue with my former practices. Since the "appetite" issue of Adbusters magazine a couple years ago I'd been railing against the fast food industry and the sugar pushing corporations because of the human consequences. And in an abstract sort of way I'd been considering becoming a vegetarian, mainly for my health but also because of my ethical standards. Gary, you forced my hand. You called my bluff. Thank you. The funny thing is that I'm facing more opposition now with this change in my eating habits than I've ever faced with any of my other personal revolutions. My family and friends are used to my alarming statistics and dire predictions concerning corporations, the government, and the environment, but when the facts and figures started implicating their personal actions, their dinner plates, they got violent. It's actually quite telling, the responses I've gotten. Regardless, I believe in taking responsibility. I've always believed in direct action in standing for my ethical beliefs. I just don't think I had made the visceral connection between what I was eating and what was being raised a mile away from me down the country lane growing up. You've made a real impact on me, and I just wanted to let you know.

Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 9:11 PM

I just came from your presentation at NJCU. Please send me a list of everything vegan. All your points got me thinking about changing my eating habits. It was very inspiring. Thank you.

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 12:32 AM
Subject: Just a big, fat Thank you

I just wanted to let you know how much admiration I have for you. You give me hope, something I lost a few years ago after coming across Free the Animals by Ingrid Newkirk. I still don't think animal cruelty will ever disappear because too many people don't care. But with you educating so many students, it gives me a new sense of hope that perhaps animal rights can be considered important and not just some joke. The problem is, most feel that animals were put here for our use and pleasure. You have no idea how many arguments I have had with my parents, the most loving people I know, trying to convince them otherwise. If they don't understand then who will? There are only a handful of us out there and it breaks my heart. But then I hear you speak and I see people around me responding and considering changes in their lifestyle. You just have this amazing talent, this amazing purpose. Thank you for all you have done and just know that your purpose in this life is special, important, and meaningful.

Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 8:27 PM

I would like to tell you that I think what you are doing is wonderful. I have considered becoming a vegetarian for a long time, but did not have enough information. Previously I believed we needed meat to survive because of the vitamins and protein in meat (as I told you after class at PSU on Wednesday, I am hypoglycemic and doctors have been telling me to eat meat and cheese for protein when my blood sugar goes haywire to get it back to normal). By listening to your lecture I now know I can get the protein I need from many other foods that do not include meat and cheese. I also did not think I would have the willpower to give up meat and cheese because I have a great love for cooking and of course eating all kinds of foods. My meat sauce is my specialty (made with crumpled Italian sausage, ground beef, and my own homemade tomato sauce) and I was worried I would never be able to make it again if I did become a vegetarian. Thanks to you I know there are many mock meats out there to use instead, and can continue cooking some of my best meat dishes without harming any animals. I am really serious about not eating meat and any other food that has products made from animals. After seeing the video in class I do not think I can look at meat as a tasty dish ever again. By seeing what goes on with my own eyes, it showed me the REAL horrors of what happens on the farms we get our meat from and I cannot bear with taking part in helping along such a horrendous act. I feel like such a hypocrite for telling people I am a huge animal lover, meanwhile I have been eating animals for 23 years. From what you have said and shown us in class, I have decided to stop being a hypocrite by becoming a vegetarian. Thanks again for educating me on this subject. Even though I didn't look at the whole video because it made my stomach turn, and even though it was not something any human being in their right mind would want to see, I am glad you brought it in. I am glad because it was a very, very strong motivator and gave me much willpower to stop eating animals. Keep up with the good work.

Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 2:19 PM

We had a class discussion last night in Dr. Compson class at UCF and asked if your speech changed anyone's eating habits and to raise to their hands if it did. About 70-80% of the class raised their hands. Good work, my friend. One kid, the one that said he wanted to play "God's advocate" and commended you on doing a good job, he's changed his eating habits and went into this long speech about truth and when u know its there in front of u, u cant help but to be drawn to it. He's a hardcore Christian and a lot of things he said last night shocked me, but in a very good way.

Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 7:34 PM

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for speaking with our class today at Penn State. Having seen your full presentation previously, I was exponentially impressed with the Q and A session you held especially for my classmates and I. I would be most grateful if you responded to this message, and included your athlete friend's email address so I might give a vegan diet another chance. Thanks again!

Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 1:43 PM

I am in professor Hanley's philosophy class at the U. of Delaware. I am writing you to tell you that I really enjoyed your lecture today in class. It really got me interested in the stuff that I eat everyday. Your lecture made me think about what happens to the animals. Because of you, I might decrease the amount of meat that I eat overall. So thank you for the lecture, it was really interesting and actually kept me awake during philosophy. haha.

Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 12:14 PM

I was in Dr. Halnon's class yesterday at PSU. I enjoyed your lecture. The video got a little gross at times but I know you wanted us to see what is going on. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2003 7:46 PM
Subject: Inspirational

You spoke today in my class at Penn State-Abington today. I was wondering if you had a list of some vegan food for me to try? Your talk was very inspirational and thanks for coming in. Good luck with all you do!.

Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 7:06 AM

I thought this might bring a little bit of a smile to you. I showed my roommates your video and spoke a little on why I was going to stop the endorsing of killing innocent creatures and not only did they notice how eloquently you spoke about the horrible truth, but they are also swearing off all meat products as well; or as you put it best anything that has had a mother, a face, or a bowl movement J My roommates and I all went to Wal-Mart last night and bought all new food products; including the soy chicken by Lightlife.

Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 12:29 AM

I just wanted to let you know, that you changed my life. You spoke to my class at The University of Central Florida on Thursday, and on Friday I became a Vegan. I wanted to say thank you. Also, I wear makeup. I would like to know where I can find out what products use animal testing and which do not. I would like to be able to buy my makeup at the local WalMart and not through the Internet if possible. Please let me know if you can help me. And once again, thank you.

Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 11:16 AM

I was in one of your lectures at Stetson U. I really respect what you are doing and am considering a change.

Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 12:04 AM

Your speech really touched me tonight bro. The stuff u said, and the way u presented it was straight to the point and in your face, the way it should be. I hope the rest of your presentations go well and hope we can keep in touch.

Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 5:33 PM

I am in Mark Lanier's class at UCF, where you recently gave a speech. I just wanted to write to tell you that your speech has had an enormous impact on my life. I have always believed that animals deserve to have just as many rights as humans have. But listening to your speech brought me to terms that my defense for animals has not been good enough. I never really stopped to contemplate about all the brutality the cows, horses, pigs, and other, shall we say, "commodities" have gone through. Your speech has put into perspective the reality of the meat market. And let's just say I will never sip a glass of milk or milk-derived product ever again. It's astonishing to think that since certain animals don't possess the ability to move their thumb or speak a certain dialect, that we, as humans, are allowed to brutally murder them with no remorse. I applaud the work you do and thank you for helping educate ignorant individuals; we all make a difference, and for those who don't, you make up the difference.

Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 5:33 PM

I literally just saw you at UCF like an hour ago and I feel really informed by your presentation. I'm going to visit the sites you listed in class and I'm going to try and structure my diet properly: fingers crossed. I'm sorry to take up your time and I'm sure you get tons for e-mails, but I'm really interested and I feel that this could seriously change my life.

Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 3:00 PM

I'm from Mrs. Radley's class at Stetson U. Thank you very much for coming and speaking to my class today. I really agree with the cause and I have a few questions for you. First, what am I supposed to eat? lol. I really don't know. I don't especially want to drink dairy products anymore, nor do I want to eat eggs. So if you could help me out with some type of a menu selection I would really appreciate it. Also, I would really like to help solve this whole problem. I don't know how, but where there's a will there's a way. I'm willing to help in any way I can. Again, thanks for sharing what you've learned with us. It's like Margaret Mead said, "Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed, that's all who ever have." You're one of those people. Keep it up and everything will turn out for the best.

Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 10:12 AM

I'm one of the students in Professor Gomrad's class at UCF from Tuesday night. I'm just wondering if you could direct me to some websites that offer vegan recipes and, perhaps, reviews on different vegan products. Any recommendations you have for specific products would also be greatly appreciated.

Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 2:25 PM

You were a guest speaker for my class at UCF today, but I did not have time to talk with you after class. I am interested in buying a video of your speech and I would like to know more information on the food and book options that you spoke about.

Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 2:06 PM

I was at a speech that you gave at a UCF and enjoyed your speech very much. I have already begun to change my eating habits and will actively seek a role in spreading the information to others. I have a quick question. I drink a protein shake after I workout and did so with milk. Is there an alternative to milk that will still make the shake taste good instead of water?

Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 9:51 AM

My husband and I heard you speak at USF on Saturday. I just want to say thank you so very much. We are new activists, we attended our first demo which was a KFC demo the same day as your lecture. We were so moved by your words. You are the first person we have heard speak on the subject of animal rights. I had asked my husband a few weeks ago when we decided to get involved in animal issues, if he was passionate enough about the subject to get arrested. He said no. He said he was extremely passionate about the subject but he thought that is was unnecessary to be jailed for it. After your lecture, he said yes he would go to jail for it. Thanks for putting some umphhhh in our motivation. Thanks for the autograph as well.

Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 8:33 PM

I am a student at UTEP where you recently did a couple of talks on veganism. I myself have been a vegetarian for 9 yrs. For that reason I chose that topic for my journalism writing class. I thought it would be a great idea to add some of your quotes to my article simply because - after listening to you - I had never heard anyone else with such passion and great word use when it comes to animals. If you don't mind and if you happen to have time I'd appreciate your help answering a few questions for my article. Thank you very much, not only for this but for educating many of my peers on the subject.

Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 10:46 PM

It was so nice to meet you Saturday evening at USF, and I just wanted to let you know that we (my husband and mother in-law) thought your speech was very educational, inspirational, and well - just outstanding!!! The words that you spoke and the images that I saw will remain with me for the rest of my life and I'm sure that it will for others too. I just wanted to say thank you for being a voice for the animals. You are making a BIG difference for them as you change the hearts and minds of people. Thank you Gary!!!!

Sent: Friday, October 03, 2003 1:41 PM

I'm a student at the University of Central Florida. I'm helping start up a club on campus devoted to animal rights, and I had no idea you were giving talks about it right here at UCF! Yesterday I went to a KFC demonstration in Orlando, and they gave me your contact information, and then today one of my friends told me that you gave a speech in her Philosophy class. The girl who heard you this morning, said that it was enough to convert her to vegetarianism! I have a class with her right after she heard your speech, and she told me all about it.

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 11:57 PM

I was present at one of the lectures you gave for Dr. Best's class. I was unable to stay and purchase your video and would like to know if there is any other way I can get it. I'd really appreciate the info. I'd also like to let you know that your visit has forever changed my life and the way I see it. Thank you so much for the pointers. To think that there was a time when I was doing an all animal protein diet, Atkins, now disgusts me. Thank you so much for opening my eyes and befriending not only me, but everyone else in that classroom.

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 11:23 PM

I am the woman who asked you to respond to the "Christian right/domination" over the animals as an excuse to eat them. Anyway, I just want to let you know how impressed that I was with you. I have been talking about you and your presentation since Monday evening. You are one, if not "the best," speaker I have ever heard on any topic (I'm a fallen vegetarian with new motivation; thanks to you). I called Dr. Best today to be sure that he purchased one of your DVD's for me before you left town. Please let me know when/if you return to El Paso. Thank you so much for your efforts!

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 4:10 PM

I am a student at Riverside and I would like to know if you could please send me a copy of your speech that you give when you give your presentation. I know someone that heard your talk in University of Texas at El Paso.

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 12:30 AM

I just wanted to tell you that your lecture today was amazing. I must say that I was shocked and ashamed for eating what I do, it's like it was a secret that the industry just was hiding. I was wondering if you could maybe give me a few pointers for starting to be a vegan. At the current time being I just eat fat free foods but I want to totally stop eating anything from animals. Once again I just want to say thank you so much, you have changed my out look on life and what I eat for the rest of my time on this planet. Thank You

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 7:55 PM

I was a student in Dr. Best's class at UTEP today, and I was interested in getting some recipes from you. I think it'll be very hard to actually change into a Vegan but, I'm really interested in trying it.

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 6:16 PM

I just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am for you taking the time to lecture in today's philosophy class at UTEP. After today's lecture, I was for the first time in my life actually given the choice to eat meat or not. Since I was a child, my mother would serve us dinner and we had to eat it period. There was no choice. It was either eat it or spend the night in your room. I guess after I got out of my mother's home, I stuck to the same diet she had introduced me to and found myself preparing very similar meals for myself and now my 6 year old daughter. After today's class I felt that I finally had all the knowledge and opportunity in front of me to make an educated choice on what I eat. I wanted to really say thank you for this opportunity that I am sure I would not have run into anytime soon if at all. Now I want to break the brainwashing cycle and provide my daughter with this choice until I feel that she has reached a state of maturity to make her choice. I have decided that I will raise her to eat vegan. I wish my mother would have given me this vegan lifestyle to begin with. Now I find myself feeling incredible guilt for contributing and supporting the slaughter of innocent life. THANK YOU!

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 5:14 PM
Subject: wow!!

I attended a class with a friend while you were giving a speech at UTEP. And let me tell you, I was very impressed. If anyway possible, I would love more information. Thank you very much.

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 4:56 PM

I'm in Dr. Best's class at UTEP and I'd like to have that list of vegan food. I just wanna try.

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 4:13 PM

I was at the lecture you gave at UTEP today. Let me explain my situation before I ask you my question. I'm a track and field athlete, a sprinter. I'm in UTEP's track program and have to work out hard 5 days a week. I'm also on the Dutch Olympic relay team so I'll be going to the 2004 Olympics, I also might make it there individually. I now run 10.27. I need to break 10.20 to go individually (I'm from the Netherlands). I realize that eating meat is not only immoral but also unhealthy. And as you can imagine my health is very important to me. I'm done with eating meat.

Sent: Monday, September 29, 2003 11:09 PM

I wanted to say thanks for stopping by the 10:30 class this morning at UTEP. People need to become increasingly aware of new and better ways to eat healthy. Also, it is good to periodically get a "behind the scenes" look at just what it takes to provide societies present level of creature comforts. It is my hope that we can meet again.

Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 12:02 AM

I'm from the Student Organization for Animal Rights at the University of Minnesota. I, along with many others, appreciated your strong message during your lecture last February and would be very interested in having you back. Thanks to that lecture, two of my friends went vegan that night!

Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:26 PM

I know some time has passed since you spoke at Dr. Calore's philosophy class at Penn State on June 3, but I wanted to have something to say before I wrote. After you spoke to our class, I felt so ashamed that I ever ate anything resembling an animal. I felt like a huge murderer. I know that wasn't your intention, but that's how I felt. I have always opposed the wearing of fur; I just never extended my feelings about animal rights past that thought. I've been a vegetarian since the day you spoke. Initially, I got some crap from my friends about my decision. I was so angry with the narrow-mindedness I encountered. Previously cool people just got a lot more juvenile and small. There was nothing fun about some wonderful comments made during the first week of my 'coming-out' as a vegetarian. What it came down to for me was the simple fact that it is my body I'm changing and it has nothing at all to do with any of these people. Their opinions are immaterial; the decision was already made and I was just giving them the courtesy of information between friends. Additionally, my parents were okay with my decision. Neither one, -plus friends, thought I would stick with it, but it is a stable healthy choice. My mom even bought some veggie stuff. Point is, thanks so much for your amazingly awesome influence. Also, are there anything transcripts of you lecture available for purchase? You've provided some of my best defenses.

Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 5:19 PM

I just wanted to let you know that the lecture you gave in Ms. Greenough's class at South Tahoe H.S. really got to me. I am seriously considering becoming a vegan!!! I never want an animal to die because of me. I don't get why its sooo wrong to kill a human, slit their throat and dismember their bodies but it's okay when they do it to animals!!! Pretty much what I wanted to say was thank you!! I knew this was happening to animals before but I never actually saw it with my own eyes. That lecture made me think twice about what I was eating and putting into my system. I felt so disgusted!!! Thank you very much. I just wanted to let you know what a good job your doing on letting people know about what people do to animals!!! I also want to thank you for the recipes!! I wanted to be a chef and I still do but now I want to open a restaurant with no meat at all!!! Thank you very much.

Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 4:20 PM

Just heard you this morning at the U. of New Hampshire. I've been discussing your talk with my sister all day because she heard you during the Spring semester at UNH. She hasn't eaten meat since, and I have to say that I am going to try veganism beginning today. I wish that I could turn the other way and go on with the usual, as it would be easier than changing habits, but that isn't a possibility. I will be challenging everyone I know to watch your video and make an educated decision for themselves. Thank you for your honest work. It is a breath of fresh air in this world. I love your dedication--you are making a huge difference Gary, at least in my family's life. All the best in your journey.

NOTE FROM ME: From 2002-05 I was an independent contractor for PETA. They sponsored my lecture tour.

Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 6:19 PM
From: Professor Jennifer L Keys [Kenyon College in Ohio]
Subject: Comments from Kenyon College

Your presentation was an intense emotional experience both for my students and for me personally. Academically, I think there was tremendous value in the students seeing the way a social movement activist frames an issue with powerful imagery and rhetoric. Throughout the semester, we have talked about how social change comes about and so this was a perfect illustration of how a "moral entrepreneur" can raise the consciousness of individuals and sweep them up in the mobilization. My husband and I have been vegetarians for five years. I am not sure if it was the forceful way you articulated your message or if it was just that it was the right moment for me to hear it, but as one of my students said, "my peace of mind was totally disrupted."

I had heard and seen nearly all of this before so it is hard for me to identify precisely why this struck such a resonant chord. After you left, I gave some final thoughts about the semester. I said something like, "my sincerest hope is that you leave this course more inspired to bring about social change than frustrated." I had tears in my eyes when I said this because I felt so completely overwhelmed—so small and ineffectual. I realize I don't know you that well but you asked me about the impact of your talk so here it goes... I spent most of the next day crying, beginning with opening the refrigerator for breakfast and scouring the ingredients lists to find something that I could stand to eat. I will never drink a glass of milk again because I all I can think of now is the horrific treatment of the dairy cows. The three fold argument you made—ethical, health, and environmental—was very effective. I experienced a small bit of relief after being more proactive by ordering some vegan cookbooks and stocking my shelves with some of the products you recommended. O.K., so if I could become a vegan overnight, than maybe education really can make a difference.

I often chastise myself for not devoting more time to activism—not just with animal rights but with other issues that I committed to. I have to remind myself that each semester I have the opportunity to teach 50-75 students. Most of those who took the social problems class plan to continue their volunteer projects at the humane society, the battered women's shelter, the nursing home, and the hot meals program. Reading the final exams, it was clear that the topics we addressed had stimulated their thinking. I am attaching nine essays that students wrote on the final exam about your presentation - there were definitely some converts.

There is one last thing I want to communicate to you about the effect that your presentation had on me. One of the students mentioned a similar transformation in her essay—never before have I felt so compelled to tell others what I had witnessed. Never before have I found the actions of others so intolerable. When you mentioned that you don't eat with your family because they eat meat, it was like a light clicked on. I don't tolerate racism, sexism, or homophobia, but I have been so politely apologetic about my choices not to eat meat instead of calling other people on their behavior. What a dilemma. To close, thank you for giving me and my students so much to ponder. The work you are doing is incredibly important. It was great to meet you.

Here are the excerpts from the student's essays—the essay question is listed first:

Phillip Slayter describes a pattern of thought which he terms "the toilet assumption: the notion that the unwanted matter, unwanted difficulties, unwanted complexities will disappear if they are removed from our immediate field of vision". Is there a social problem that we covered that you would have preferred to have not known about (because it was too disturbing/upsetting)? Explain the effect that awareness of this issue has had on you.

"I would definitely have to say I would have rather of not heard and seen Gary Yourofsky's talk about PETA and animals rights. Since that day I rarely can sit down at a meal without having some image of an animal being brutally tortured pass through my head, for just a split second. Going into the talk I had somewhat of an idea of what goes on in the meat industry, but I had no idea the magnitude to which it occurred. I started wondering how can people that work their everyday go home at night and feel like they have put in a good days work. I'm sure they have become accustomed to it, but I don't think I could go to bed at night after hearing those blood curdling screams all day. I do have to say that Mr. Yourofsky's speech was very interesting. This presentation is something that I will probably remember for the rest of my life, and look forward to keeping an eye on PETA and see how the challenge to turn the world vegan is coming along."

"The last class, Tuesday, April 29, we had a speaker come in sponsored by PETA. The video that he showed was both heart and stomach wrenching. Some small part of me is glad that I experienced that. I have been told about the procedures used in slaughterhouses for years, but seeing them is a completely different story. However, my gut reaction is that I wish I had never seen that. For about three days after seeing that video I had trouble sleeping and eating. If I even saw meat or the video was mentioned I felt sick to my stomach; I think I only ate carrots and cucumbers for most of those three days. The images haunted me. Every time I tried to lie down to take a nap or sleep at all they would flash in my mind. The eye of the cow whose blood was being collected in a jar came to me the most, along with the pig being dismembered while fully conscious, and once these images came I would start gagging and sobbing. For a few days, I could not figure out why this had such a huge effect on me. Seeing that video has seriously altered my eating and sleeping patterns."

"The problem with knowledge is that once you have it, you can't get rid of it. There is no instantaneous flushing out the thoughts, ideas and information we don't want. As Peter Berger, the author of "Sociology of Freedom" states, "Anyone who pursues the sociological perspective to its logical consequences will find himself undergoing a transformation of his consciousness of society ... It also produces unsafely (sometimes with catastrophic effects) for his own peace of mind." This semester, we have learned about some truly appalling social realities. From the jailing of women who kill their husbands after years of torture, to the frightening reality of price fixing in our free market, I feel that I have taken Things to Be Mad About 101 this semester. Marjorie Spiegel, the author of The Dreaded Comparison wrote, "Our approach to social problems is to decrease their visibility." Our society is gifted at pretending some of our biggest social issues aren't important, which is why learning about these issues is essential. With knowledge comes power, and the more one knows about an issue, the more tools one has to bring about social change. However, as I stated before, we don't always want to learn about certain things no matter how important the issue. For me, this subject is a recent one. I was disturbed enough about some of the truths behind the treatment of animals--and slaves for the matter--after reading The Dreaded Comparison. When the speaker for PETA came to speak I was downright appalled. Perhaps growing up with dogs has made me an intense animal lover, which is why I haven't eaten meat since middle school. But the presentation by Gary, including the film he showed, made me ashamed of not being a strict vegan for the last 19 years. After seeing how animals are treated even when not being used for meat made me feel downright nauseated. I hadn't, for some unclear reason, made the direct connection between fur and leather before, which makes me now want to boycott both products. I even feel guilty now for never successfully (I've tried before) becoming a vegan. Most sadly, I have noticed myself becoming annoyed lately when I see people eating meat around me, which has never been an issue in the past. My peace of mind has been totally disrupted. I believe the equal treatment of animals is important and necessary, but my goal has never been to bother others with my vegetarian lifestyle. I know that it takes radicals in every social movement to make the issue prevalent, but for me, ignorance was bliss."

"Throughout the semester l would leave class feeling as though I had been contributing to social problems by my inactivity or that society's ills are too complicated for me to do anything about. I agree with Spiegel's quote, "... unwanted complexities will disappear if they are removed from our immediate field of vision" (Spiegel 77). I'm just as guilty as the next person when I forget about specific social problems because they fortunately don't affect my life. When something is out of sight, very often it's out of mind. I hate the fact that at times I conduct myself in this manner. There were moments after class when I felt completely useless, too small to make any kind of contribution even if I did change my own actions. Thankfully, there are many other times that I realize the only way to bring about change is one action at a time. The social problem that I had the most trouble reading and hearing about related to Animal Rights (our last class). I know that animals have always been mistreated and used for a variety of purposes. But the details, video-footage, and statistics were just too much for me to take in at once. Like many other people, I have a dog that I love and adore with all my heart. It was hard to see that so many other animals on this earth are severely mistreated and killed without ever really having a chance to live. I would have preferred not to be reminded of the human beings who have so little regard for life, whether it is human life or animal life. Both species are capable of suffering. Overall, I'm glad I have a heightened awareness about this problem even though it made a huge impact on me—both positive and negative. Unfortunately, whenever I look at or eat turkey now, I feel guilty because I'm picturing the horrible methods people utilize that allow me to eat the turkey in my sandwich. I am actually reconsidering whether I want to continue eating meat. There is no question that I would prefer being aware of problems that affect our society, rather than being completely ignorant. With awareness comes the ability to think, make choices, and take action. Ignorance will only serve to entrap us in conditions that may not be beneficial to human beings."

"In his short essay "Sociology and Freedom," Peter L. Berger writes "Anyone who pursues the sociological perspective to its logical consequences will find himself undergoing a transformation of his consciousness of society" (Berger 368). While watching the presentation by PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] representative Gary Yourofsky, I found myself undergoing this transformation of consciousness. Although I have been a vegetarian for almost six years, I stopped eating meat (but not eggs or dairy) on a whim and continued to be a vegetarian for years out the simple habit and a slight moral nagging. When people asked me (usually with a slightly condescending tone) why I was a vegetarian, I usually brushed aside animal rights considerations and said either "health reasons" or "because I don't like meat." After Gary's lecture, I question my choices both to continue eating eggs and dairy and to not be more vocal about the animal rights causes. As our class watched the video that Gary showed during his lecture, I noticed that many people, myself included, turned away in horror from the graphic images of animals being slaughtered and mistreated. Gary warned that we might do this, so this is clearly a common reaction. It is as though people believe on some level that if something is not seen or heard, than it does not exist and will not have to be grappled with. If seeing is believing, then not seeing is not having to believe. I would rather understand a social problem and have to change my actions or view of the world accordingly than not know about the problems and live in ignorance. Berger writes, "[Transformation of consciousness] also produces unsafely (sometimes with catastrophic effects) for [a person's] own peace of mind" (Berger 369). As the cliché goes, ignorance is bliss. But it's also ignorance. Without this "unsafely" there is no room for a person or a society to evolve. Is increased knowledge of social problems liberating or limiting? I think it is both. I have challenged myself to eat a vegan diet for this rest of the school year and the summer. Already, it's hard, and I know it will limit my options when my friends order a cheesy pizza or when I crave my morning omelet. But the issue of animal rights has become too closely aligned in my mind with both slavery and the holocaust for me to ignore it. I like to think that I would have been an abolitionist during the time of slavery and would have fought against Nazi oppression during WWII. It is liberating to know that I can be part of the solution to the oppression and mistreatment that occurs in my own lifetime instead of part of the problem."

"We studied a variety of upsetting social issues this semester. I was most upset by problems that caused people to experience physical suffering, including domestic violence, homelessness, and gender issues in the military. Gary Yourofsky's presentation about animal rights had a similar effect on me. Despite my emotional reactions to some of our subject matter, I do not wish I had never known about it. I would rather be aware of and upset about a problem than ignorant of it. There is no single problem that I would have preferred to have not known about. If I were required to choose one social problem to forget about entirely, I would choose the animal rights movement and the practices of the meat industry. Issues like domestic violence and homelessness, while moving and upsetting, do not relate directly to my everyday life. Learning about the meat industry, however, forced me to question the ethics of my daily eating habits. I found the possibility that I was previously unaware of my own ethical trespasses extremely discomforting. Charon would probably call my experience a typical, if not a fundamental one; he defines sociology as the frequently uncomfortable process of objectively examining one's life and society. Forgetting all about the animal rights movement would permit me to return to a state of safety. I would not feel obligated to believe I had done something wrong. Regardless of the comfort that forgetting what I have learned might give me, I consciously choose not to try to forget. Beyond causing me to question my own beliefs and actions, learning about the animal rights movement also inspired me to act. Although I did not "embrace veganism!" as Yourofsky kept urging us to do, I tentatively decided to try vegetarianism. Berger might credit my decision to sociology's liberating but conservative qualities. He describes sociology as a discipline that inspires people to change society's ills in a prudent way that preserves its benefits. The most valuable skill I will take from this class is the ability to approach the study of social problems with the idea that they can somehow be solved."

"I would have preferred not to have learned about animal welfare in the United States. As a lifelong carnivore, I was astonished through reading The Dreaded Comparison and by the video clips by the PETA national orator about the conditions of animals that we consume. Although I thought the comparison of meat animals' living conditions similar to that of Jewish concentration camps a bit radical, I was appalled at how inhumane their living conditions were. The fact that female sows could not turn around in their cage because it was too narrow was unbelievable. The fact that young chickens and pigs had their beaks or teeth removed to ensure no imperfections to the meat that could be damaged through fights was unheard of. I felt deceived learning that "free-range" with regards to chicken's living conditions only meant that the owner provided a door and a small pen. After the presentation given by the PETA orator, I swore off meat so that I could save 3,000 animal lives. My roommate argued that they would lose their lives in vain then without my consumption; however, I believe that by not consuming animal flesh I will decrease the demand for meat overall, thereby decreasing the overall supply of meat to humans. Although I was affected by the social problem of animal welfare the most, it was the hardest seminar discussion I have experienced this seminar. Because of my new-found consciousness of the lack of animal rights, I lost my appetite completely for a week and had trouble walking through Peirce Dining Hall looking at the flesh of animals that had died to satiate our cravings for animal protein. Peter Berger talks about the issue of "bringing of consciousness" in his article "Sociology and Freedom". Berger states that through the subversive nature of sociology the institution challenges and threatens assumed constructions of society. Berger best summarizes this point by saying "...it shows up the fallaciousness of socially established interpretations of reality by demonstrating that the facts do not give with the 'official' view..." (368). By challenging the assumed constructions of society, a sociologist encounters a new level of consciousness about society, however, this new found freedom of thought can sometimes be depressing because of the realization of the many social problems that our society is fraught with. I agree with Berger's point since although I am glad that I have turned into a vegetarian after learning about animal welfare, it is not comforting to know that our society discriminates so cruelly against animals. Joel Charon discusses how the characteristic issues of democracy are studied in sociology. Charon best captures this point in his article "Sociology and Democracy" when he writes "To ask questions about human nature is to ask simultaneously questions about the possibility for democratic society, a society built on qualities that are not often widespread in society: respect for individual difference, compromise, and concern over inequality and lack of freedom" (374). All of these qualities can be related to the issue of animal welfare since often vegetarians and animal rights activists are considered radical. Moreover, if people would compromise on the amount of meat they consumed, perhaps animals could be treated more humanely and less like a product. Lastly, these animals are essentially slaves to their human masters. Although the study of sociology has been conscious-raising and has given me a sense of freedom of thinking, it is still depressing to learn about the multitude of social problems that our society disregards and perpetuates on a daily basis. I agree with Max Weber's conclusion on why he continued to study the pessimistic nature of sociology when he said "Because I want to know how much I can stand..." (Berger, 369). I think it is essential that every citizen push themselves to confront the saddening aspects of society in order to achieve social change.

"The Dreaded Realization -- Joel Charon once said in his essay Sociology and Democracy, "We are never the same once we bring sociology into our lives. Life is scrutinized. Truth becomes far more tentative." Whether or not one brings sociology into their lives however depends on what he or she would rather enjoy: the ecstasy of ignorance or, as Berger calls it, "the ecstasy of freedom," that consists of "standing outside the routine ways and assumptions of everyday life." With this in mind, I am definitely the type of person that enjoys the latter more scrutinized way of life. Although I am this type of person that always wants to know the truth, the one truth that I sometimes wish I did not know about is the inhumane treatment of animals. After reading the book The Dreaded Comparison and seeing Gary Yourofsky's presentation on animal rights and slavery, I have never been able to look at meat or animal products the same way. Even before I saw footage or learned about the actual process by which they slaughter livestock, I had already been a pseudo-vegetarian since I was 13(not eating red meat and for a 3-year period not eating any meat at all). However, I did so solely due to the fact that I was repulsed by the thought of eating muscle, blood vessels, etc. But now I have learned about how animals are treated and I have seen the footage of it ... and now I can never go back to eating meat again. Right after I left the classroom, I knew that that was my last day of enjoying the tender taste of chicken and the comforting nature of ice cream; and respectfully, ever since then I have been a vegan. Although it has been a harsh realization that has changed my everyday life, like I said earlier, I would rather be aware of the truth than live an ignorant yet blissful life. Unfortunately the "ecstasy of freedom" that comes with this awareness often yields desperation, which I happen to be experiencing right now, with my incessant cravings for chicken nuggets and chocolate (Berger). Even though I sometimes wish that I could go back to my "world-taken-for-granted," as Alfred Schutz terms it, I do not wish to return to my "prison," constructed by society's untested cultures beliefs (Charon). As Joel Charon says, "there are always alternatives," no matter how challenging and uncomfortable they may be.

"The problem that we talked about in class this semester that was the most shocking and hard to take in was in the very last class when Gary Yourofsky from PETA came to talk about veganism. The video that he showed of animal concentration camps, abuse, and slaughter was extremely graphic, nauseating and heart wrenching. I came into class expecting to hear harsh words, but I was in no way prepared for the video clips that were shown. The clips took what in my head I had imagined as one level of a problem and showed that the abuse was even worse than I had ever dreamed that it could be and did it in a very blunt manner. My first thoughts after leaving class that night was that I wish that I had skipped class so that I wouldn't have had to watch those images or hear the words that Gary spoke. But, as I sat and contemplated the images and the message that had been shared with us, I was able to come to terms with the fact that I had seen them, it just left me the problem of what I was going to do about it. While I was not a vegetarian at the time, I had been for a long time in the past, so I knew that it was possible, just hard sometimes. I also knew the moment he started showing the clips that there was no way that I was going to be able to eat meat again for a while or ever. It was the truth, when I sat down to lunch the next day, I had my veggie sandwich, but every single one of my friends that I was eating with had more than one type of meat on their trays. I asked one friend how she could sit there and eat all of that meat after I had described the images that I had seen to her in detail after returning home from seminar when I was looking for someone to talk to. She looked at me and responded, "it was there, it tastes good, and I just don't think about it." In thinking about my feeling on this information now that I have time to let it all sink and have the images stored further back in my brain, I have come to the conclusion that it is not that I did not want to know what was going on in all of the animal concentration camps, it is just that ignorance in this case was bliss. I do not think I would have been upset never knowing how female pigs go crazy from not being able to move or turn around in their cells and so they start to bite the bars, or how their babies have their teeth cut out, their tail cut off and their testicles removed all without painkillers, or that chickens have their beaks cut off so they cannot fight or the large number of animals kept in really small cages. The fact is that treatment like that is not something that most people would wish upon their worst enemy and if this is true, why should we inflict this pain on innocent animals just so we can eat them?"

Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 9:29 PM

At 2:10 last Tuesday you gave a lecture at UNH about animal rights and vegetarianism. At 3:30 I became a vegetarian. I knew previously the torment the animals go through in order for us to eat but I have to say that the video clip that you showed tore my heart out. I know that it was dramatic for a reason, and it worked (if you get to one person you've made a difference). I found the information on milk fascinating and disturbing as well as the statistics on how much it takes to feed the animals when we could be using that energy to be feeding people. Anyway, you get hundreds of e-mails and I'm sure that mine is just another you'll forget ... but your lecture is one that I won't, so thank you.

Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 9:50 PM

I saw your presentation last Thursday at UNH. I was quite moved by it. As a peace activist myself, I've advocated non-violence for 3 years now. Never before had I realized I'm perpetuating violent behavior by eating animals. Thank you so much for bringing me to that realization. Your work is so important. I've been following a vegan diet since I saw your presentation. It actually hasn't been all that difficult. I feel so much better in so many different ways. I can't stop sharing the information you gave with my friends. Thanks again, and good luck educating for justice!

Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 9:02 PM

I just wanted to write to you to let you know what a huge impact your presentation had on me. I actually am an African American Studies minor, so a lot of things that you said really connected with me and my true passion at heart. For a few hours there, I was convinced that I could minor in both since they are so closely related and linked. I was really moved by the connections you drew with the enslavement of animals to those of Africans. I hope, like you said, that one day we as people will all look back on this enslavement of animals and shake our heads in disbelief as we do when we imagine African enslavement. After class I felt really inspired to try to help and stop this horrendous cruelty towards animals. I watched the video when I got home and really just could not stop crying, nor could I sleep. I called my parents that night, crying still of course, and made them promise not to eat any meat or dairy until they saw your video. I drove home the next morning, 2 hours away, just so they could watch it. They were also both shocked and are definitely cutting back on meat and dairy from their diet--hopefully they will soon wean off from it and go vegan all together though. I bought about $50 worth of vegan food for us all to try, and we all agreed it was much better than the real thing. One of my friends also watched the movie, who is already a vegetarian, and she is now attempting veganism. I am so happy!! Now we can cook great meals together! So, I really just wanted you to understand how you greatly impacted my life. I am proud to say that I have been a full fledged vegan since your presentation. I have faith that I will have no problem maintaining this diet--especially after viewing the video and tasting how wonderful the soy products are. Well, thank you again. And I have been sure to spread the word of veganism. Each one teach one, right? I truly hope that people will soon understand exactly what they are eating and the toll it takes on precious animals--maybe one day the reality will hit them with the help of people like you, and they will also try to stop this insanity. Take care, and thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 1:30 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your presentation and I am trying to become a vegetarian. I loved your presentation. You are a wonderful speaker, and I want to try to encourage other people that what we are doing to these animals and to our bodies is wrong.

Sent: Monday, April 14, 2003 9:56 PM

I attended the fundraising banquet in Ann Arbor for SASHA Farm this past Saturday. I wanted to formally thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at that event. I have been a PETA member and vegan for over two years now. I have successfully converted my sister and two best friends to veganism and did it largely with the help and inspiration of PETA. I plan on spending the rest of my life doing exactly what you are doing. I simply wanted to say it was a pleasure to hear you speak and that you made me feel more comfortable about the idea of speaking frankly, without apology, about my beliefs. Thank you for all you've done.

Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 4:18 PM

Uh...no, you're not too gifted are you? I heard you speak at the SASHA Farm fundraiser last night. No doubt you will continue to plant seeds in the hearts of many. These seeds will grow and grow inside to produce vegetarians, vegans, activists of all kinds, and people who are be willing to do whatever it takes to change this world and the way we live in it. You are very inspirational.

Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 6:23 PM

I just wanted to thank you again for the lecture you gave at UNH last Thursday. I really agree with what you have to say. I'm thinking very seriously about trying the vegan way of life. I know it will be a much healthier way to eat and live. Thanks again for your time and thoughts, it is very much appreciated.

Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 7:53 PM

I was at UNH when you gave your speech. I would really like you to know that I do not eat meat any longer. I would really like to thank you for making me cry in class. It's exactly what I needed. I would also really like to show my parents and friends the video. I've been talking about it ever since and how much it has affected the way I think and eat. Rest assured that I will be showing it to whoever I can get to watch it. You are absolutely inspirational and I just wanted to let you know how much you have changed me. Thank you and please respond with how I can get a video.

Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 10:54 PM

I'm a student at UNH and I attended your lecture on Thursday. The video was harsh. Like many others, I cried and I was revolted at what I saw, but during some of the last few scenes when you showed the sheep being killed (I LOVE SHEEP), I had to look away. It was at that point that I realized that I can no longer bring myself to put meat into my mouth (or milk). I don't know anyone that loves animals more than I do, but isn't that hypocritical if I'm eating meat? Anyway, I'm starting off slow: no meat and no milk for now. I eventually hope to work out the eggs and cheese as well, but I don't want to alter my diet so drastically right away that I end up failing miserably. But I won't give up!! Your lecture made an impact on me.

Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 11:57 PM

I personally thought the lecture at Wheaton College was great. I know a lot of people who have at least become vegetarians and some vegetarians who are working on becoming vegans, including myself. So you certainly got through to many people!

Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 5:02 PM

Gary Yourofsky came to the U. of Rhode Island on April 7. I first heard of Gary when I was at the 2003 Liberation Now, student animal rights conference in Berkeley, California. It was at Liberation Now where I met a girl who recently had gotten involved in the animal rights movement. I asked her, as I do to most activist I meet, why she was an animal rights activist. She told that a man named Gary Yourofsky had given a lecture at her school, the University of Colorado Boulder, and she went vegan that night. It was at this time that I knew Gary would be good. I now know first hand how effective Gary actually is. Gary spoke to a crowd of about 100 people in the student union. Gary's approach to animal rights was awesome; he used a smart, balanced mix of common sense and compassion to deliver the message to the crowd. He used first hand experience and facts to present animal rights as unquestionable truth. He answered every question and left no argument open so that the only questions left to be answered in our question and answer section were comparable to "how many animals will be saved when I go vegan?" The crowd was full of many different types of people. Among the crowd were people who were being introduced to animal rights for the first time and there were also those who have been vegan for years. Afterward, the husband of the president of the Rhode Island Animals Coalition, Mr. Tucker, came over to me and said exactly what I was feeling at the time, "You know, I have heard everything Gary said a million times however, there was just something different and more effective in the way he said things." I could not have put what Mr. Tucker said more perfectly, I believe every animal rights activist who listens to Gary gains many new ideas and arguments to use in improving the message. I have been vegan for over three years, throughout this time I have tried effortlessly to make my toughest critic, my mother understand. In about one hour, Gary did what I have tried to do in over three years of debate. It was amazing to hear my mother say, "I think I am going to drink soymilk and eat less meat." This was her way of letting me know she finally understood and was ready to change. Aside from my mother, a vegetarian at the conference told me she was going vegan and another girl told me she was going vegetarian, both after hearing Gary speak. I have heard many people speak about animal rights, the three most effective I have ever heard include Ingrid Newkirk, Dr. Stephen Best department chair, philosophy, University of Texas and Gary Yourofsky. I can't even begin to imagine how many animals have been saved throughout Gary's career as an activist. I guess I can only hope to one day be as effective as he is.

Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 2:44 PM

I was in the class at UNH. WOW ... is all I can really say. It was pretty eye-opening, to say the least. It's hard for me because I have been a dedicated meat-eater my entire life. But I can not stop thinking about your presentation. It's gonna be hard for me to give up meats, cheeses and milk ... but I am going to give it an effort. I was wondering if I could get a copy of that presentation on VHS. There are a number of family and friends that I would like to show it to. I have told many people about it already, but I think it would have much more of an impact if they see your presentation. I gotta beleive that if it had an impact on someone like me, it is bound to have an impact on others in my life. So, if you could let me know how I could get a copy on VHS, that would be great. Thanks again for the amazing presentation.

Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 8:00 AM

I am in Prof. Chris Schadler's class at UNH. You said that you could suggest a bunch of different types of food, which are alternatives to animal-based products. What would you suggest? Thanks, and have a good one.

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 4:47 PM

First of all I'd like to say that you are amazing! I've thought about becoming a vegetarian before, but your presentation made me realize that I HAVE to do it! I would really love to have a copy of the presentation, the video that you said we could buy. I have a few people that I need to show the video to. I cried so much during your presentation, but I didn't leave because of what you said: "if this isn't good enough for your eyes, how is it good enough for your stomach?" I owed it to myself to watch it completely, and I'm glad I did. It wasn't a "good" thing to see, but it helped me.

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 5:55 PM

I was in Professor Chris Schadler's class at UNH today. I just want to thank you so much for coming and speaking with us. I know I'll definitely be changing some things in my life because of what you had to say and the videos you showed us about all the cruelty and abuse that these animals endure. I'd also like to buy the dvd of today's lecture. I had to run after class so I didn't get a chance to speak with you then.

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 6:52 PM

I was in the audience when you lectured at UNH. I was moved by your presentation and I was wondering what kinds of things I could do to help with the animal rights movement. The clips you showed crushed me and I feel like there is something I can do to help.

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 9:10 PM

I am a student at UNH and I saw your presentation today. I just want to thank you for opening my eyes to something I never saw. I cried through your presentation and I left a changed, vegan woman. I am ashamed to be a human sometimes. I am also interested in buying one or two of your videos. You're an awesome person. I, too, will stand in front and stand strong.

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 9:42 PM

I'm one of the board members of the Rhode Island Animal Rights Coalition (RIARC), one of the co-sponsors of the University of Rhode Island conference you spoke at yesterday. I thought your presentation was great! It was very motivating. I've been feeling disenfranchised and out of touch lately with my 'activist' side. This conference, especially your presentation and Lyman's really got me back in touch with why I've been a vegetarian for the past 13 years and vegan for the past 10 years. I picked up a copy of your DVD. I want to show it to all my family and friends (especially my mother!). Thanks!

Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 12:30 AM

I am a Wheaton College student and an avid animal rights activist and vegetarian. I just came from your lecture tonight—I didn't have time to stick around and talk b/c I had to drive a friend home, but I wanted to tell you how much I loved the whole thing. I really thought it was amazing and I learned so much from it. I have been a vegetarian for 6 years and I really thought I knew just about all there was to know to wage a good defense for vegetarianism, and a good bit of what you said I had heard before (not that it can hurt to hear again), but quite a bit of it was new to me. It was also just great to hear someone say all of the things that are always in my head, all of the frustrations and concerns. And for once to have someone mock the non-vegetarians and some of the ignorant comments they can make was also great! Many of my friends are very disrespectful towards my lifestyle as a vegetarian, and I constantly am hearing people gag in disgust when I eat soy meat products or tofu, because apparently that is more disgusting than meat. I also have very religious friends who try to tell me that God made us this way, blah blah blah. Anyhow, all the ignorant comments that you can imagine, my friends say. It was wonderful to hear you respond to them all and it gave me more ideas of how to handle those awkward situations in the future!!! Being a vegetarian puts people in hard situations, we are expected to take all the anti-vegetarian jokes with a grain of salt, but if we ever make a similar joke towards meat eaters, they instantly get on the defense and say that we are preaching to them. You also were able to give me a lot of ideas on how to speak to people in both confrontational and non-confrontational manners, so basically it was just a very educational night for me! My friend and I have also decided to go vegan after your speech tonight. I am sure you made a difference for a lot of the people at your lecture tonight and in general with all of the lectures you give and all of the things you do, but I also know just how rewarding it is to get some positive feedback after all the hard work, so I just wanted to tell you how much you taught and helped me! Good luck in all that you do, maybe I'll run into you again in the future, I plan on going into a career in animal activism myself. :)

Sent: Monday, April 07, 2003 10:32 PM

I was at your lecture tonight at Wheaton College. I just wanted you to know that I was really inspired and enlightened, and I think that there should be more people like you in this world (I wanted to come shake your hand after, but I didn't have any specific questions and people were lining up). I was wondering if you could send me a list of the vegan foods you had listed on the board.

Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 10:15 AM

I attended your presentation yesterday at Indiana State U. I want to thank you so much for your passion, thanks to you I FINALLY made the decision to go vegan. I had been struggling with it for a long time, and it finally clicked yesterday. Thank you!

Sent: March 31, 2003 5:14 PM

My husband and I were at the Mid Hudson Vegetarian Society's meeting that you spoke at on March 15. We were already vegetarian when we came to the meeting, although we both had continued to use dairy products. Your presentation changed that! We really look forward to sharing your video presentation with friends and family. Thank you for opening our eyes. It makes me crazy to realize that I spent two years of college to get a degree in Dietetic Technology, passed the American Dietetic Association's National Exam, became a registered Dietetic Technician, and yet a good portion of what I was taught (and in turn to others) was propaganda from the meat industry. Thank you again for an eloquent, thoughtful and thought-provoking presentation.

Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 9:00 PM

You spoke in my class last week at th U. of North Texas in Denton. I appreciate you stopping by. At first it offended me and I was in shock, but then I started to think, he's right. Ever since you spoke and showed the video, I haven't been able to eat meat. You might not remember but I am the (black) young lady in the 10-10:50 philosophy class, who only had 6 dollars to pay for the tape. I really appreciate you. I have a whole new outlook on eating. I've also shown the video to my family and friends. My fiance wants to start also.

Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 11:27 PM

You spoke in my philosophy class this past week at North Texas, and said that if I emailed you that you could send me a list of vegan food. I found your speech very interesting and learned a lot of interesting facts.

Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2003 8:28 PM

I attended your lecture yesterday at Va. Commonwealth U., and I thought that it was excellent. SO excellent, that I want to share it with all my non-vegan friends and family! Unfortunately, I had to leave before you were finished (you were still answering questions when I left) so I was wondering if there was any way if I mailed you a check for the cost of your lecture on video that you could mail it to me?

Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2003 11:54 AM

I attended your lecture at the Bronx High School of Science. Your speech was very inspiring to me. For this past week I have been working towards becoming a vegetarian.

Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 10:59 AM

I would like to receive the full food list that you email to whoever is interested. And if you have any other information that may be friendly to the beginning Vegan.

Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 11:15 AM

Hey I saw you at New Jersey City U. in my environmental ethics class. Your speech and video really moved me. Now I don't want to eat anything that was ever alive!! I just wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to what is going on in the world. It is unfair to treat animals like this. The day you spoke to my class on the 17th, I went out and bought soy milk and told all my friends that cow's milk is bad. I never would have known if it wasn't for you!!

Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 9:37 PM

I was at the Bronx High School of Science lecture today. I was wondering if you could possibly send me one of your videos so I may show my mother and friends the horrible tortures done to animals just so humans may eat meat.

Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 4:23 PM

I just wanted to thank you again for coming to Mizzou-Columbia. Your speech was incredible. Brendan's roommate, Kit, decided to become a vegetarian. Brendan's friend Thrisa said she was becoming a vegan. Ginney wrote to me saying she was going to go vegan. Before she heard your speech she was vegetarian. She said that the emphasis you put on how bad the dairy industry is had the greatest affect on her.

Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 5:57 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your lecture. You are a great speaker. I'm taking classes at night and I'm currently in a speech/presentation class. You are very good at keeping the audience's attention and getting your message across in a very positive, yet serious manner. I have to present a 'persuasive' speech in a few weeks. Until yesterday I had a few ideas I was considering for my topic, but yesterday helped me decide. I'm going to attempt to do a persuasion speech on becoming a vegan. If it's okay with you, I may show a few clips (not the entirety) of your video I purchased. I am really excited about the topic and the possibility of presenting a totally new idea to some of my classmates. I had to turn away a couple of times during the video, it definitely makes you do a reality check. I did 'get' it and I am converted. I can't promise to go vegan overnight, but I have definitely made the decision to do it. There's no doubt in my mind now. I started to order a hamburger for lunch and literally got sick to my stomach immediately, and chose the salad instead.

Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 4:23 PM

I am in Dr. Zartman's animal science class at Ohio State. When I saw you speak a few weeks ago, I was blown away by your passion for the cause of animal liberation. I thought you might be able to help me with a speech I have coming up in that same class. On this coming Tuesday—March 11—I have been charged with presenting to the class a defense of the statement "Animals Should Not Be Used For Fighting Or Property Protection."

NOTE FROM ME: From 2002-05 I was an independent contractor for PETA. They sponsored my lecture tour.

From: Professor Julie Andrzejewski (SCSU)
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 3:58 PM
Subject: Comments from St. Cloud St.

"This week's speaker was very powerful and very passionate about animal rights. No person that I have ever met has even made me think twice about not eating meat. Gary spoke about veganism and what it means. Gary was very graphic on his descriptions of animal cruelty for the purpose of human luxury. Before Gary I have always stereotyped vegetarians as women or sissies. Gary is a big guy and the pamphlet that was handed out had some world-class bodybuilders in it that are vegetarians. This changes whole my view about vegetarianism. Veganism is a brand new ideology to me and I would like to learn more about it. This week I am going to visit the website that Gary recommended to learn more about it."

"He was an incredibly powerful speaker. What made him also really good is that he was so knowledgeable. He made me really think about what I was eating, and especially drinking milk. Gross to think about all the pus and stuff in milk that doesn't come out through pasteurization. Overall, he made a huge impact on what I consume. I will definitely think about what I eat now."

"It was very interesting hearing Gary Yourofsky speak. He really made me question some things that I needed answers to and also he answered some of the questions that I had. He made me think critically about veganism. I have tried it a few times before, but when he talked about eating veal as a comparison to drinking milk, I wanted to start crying. He was an inspiring speaker who wanted to make you leap out of your seat and do something."

"I thought that the PETA speaker on Tuesday was excellent. I wasn't so sure about animal rights and vegetarianism and veganism up until this point, but he really made a huge impact on me. I am not sure if it was the way the speech was delivered or the information he provided, but I have already quit drinking milk and my mind is wondering and pondering al sorts of other animal rights issues. I am finally getting used to the idea of animal rights and veganism and I am starting to have an understanding of these topics.

"The challenge in class this week was the PETA speaker. More and more I want to become a vegetarian. It seems so hard now because I'm so used to eating meat. For the upcoming week, I am looking into starting a new eating habit that will eliminate meat."

"I'd say the hardest thing this week was going to Gary Yourofsky's speech. Even though we've already gone to a speaker on animal rights, I thought Gary did a great job of explaining the facts. He gave a lot of information to take in but did it in a reasonable fashion. It was interesting to learn a bunch of things he said. All he did was give us facts and let us choose what we wanted to believe, which I liked. I don't like speakers who try to convince you or try to make you believe a certain way. If they just give you the facts and let you choose, it seems to be much more affective."

"It was very interesting to learn about Gary Yourofsky, the animal rights activist. After I went to the speech I starting telling my roommates about the things he told us, and I told my boyfriend. He was pretty grossed out."

"The speaker was very moving. The more I hear about this topic, the more I think about it outside the class. It's nice to see someone so passionate about what they do and stand for. He brought up things I'd never heard before, like that humans are naturally herbivores. I have been trying to cut back on my meat intake, and if I do eat it, it's hard not to get the images from the videos in my head."

"The speaker this week was an AMAZING speaker! The way in which he spoke was so very powerful and it really made in impact on me. I feel like I walked out of his presentation more knowledgeable and aware of the food I eat than from previous speakers on this subject. The thing that sticks out most in my mind is about the pus found in milk! They restrict alcohol beverages until 21 because they feel you are an adult and can make your own decisions then What about the children who are drinking pus?"

"I did not learn anything from the speaker per se; he didn't speak on anything that is new. I did feel like he was trying to convert people to veganism rather than getting his point straight across."

Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 1:16 PM

I was very impressed with your speech at St. Cloud State U. Thanks for opening up my mind about veganism. I was already a vegetarian (since September) but I am looking into being a vegan or at least trying to go vegan for some meals.

Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 8:50 AM

Thank YOU for coming to St. Cloud State U.! Your lecture was excellent! Your talk was really convincing. I believe there were a lot of people in the audience who became vegans. One woman, Cathy, already sent me e-mail saying the lecture was awesome! Joel, a male student, said it was great that you covered every aspect of animal rights. Theresa, a female student said you are the best speaker she has ever heard. (She is an activist and invites and listens to a lot of speakers, but she said you are the best speaker!) Thank you again for your efforts and an excellent speech!

Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 4:45 PM

Thank you so much for speaking at St. Cloud State University. You are an awesome speaker with so many good things to say. I have eaten Vegan for the last 10 years. The world needs more people like you, a strong and courageous person and champion for all living beings! Especially the ones that can't speak for themselves. I hope you keep doing what you are doing. I know that you have inspired me to do more for animal rights and animal protection.

Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 2:40 PM

I met you at St. Mary's College (Cal. on 2/20/03). You gave a speech on the unethical treatments of animals. Well I just wanted to thank you again for how you really opened my eyes and made me think. My roommate and I are pleased to say that we are going to desperately try and become vegans! Thank you for what you are doing, I think your random acts of kindness are examples we all should follow.

Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 1:39 AM

I am one of Dr. Best's students at UTEP, and I have decided to go vegan. I have discussed it with my mother and she also wants to do the same, and that's good because if she does it then my 14 yr old sister will too. Now I realize what loving animals really means. I knew these things were happening to animals, but I was obviously in denial. You educated me and I am so grateful. Now I will try to educate as many as I can. I heard you mention that you had tasted almost every soy product and other vegan products and that you would send a list of what you thought were the best. I would like for you to please send me some of that info. I would like to order two copies of your speech, one in VHS and the other in DVD format.

Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 3:28 AM

I am a student in Dr. Best's class at UTEP and was very interested in your talk. I also want to make an attempt in changing my eating habits and was wondering if you could send me a list of foods to try.

From: Teachers at Eisenhower H.S. (Mich.)
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2003 9:21 AM
Subject: Here are excerpts from 134 comments

"After your talk at Eisenhower H.S., I just can't look at meat the same way. It disgusts me. I understood what you were saying and only wish that everyone else did the same. I respect you as a person for what you are doing and thank you for educating me. This was quite life-changing. I am becoming a vegan. This presentation opened my eyes to things I never thought existed. I have never been more disgusted at the human race. Thank you for helping me realize how cruel people are to animals."

"I completely agree with you and admire you for being so against cruelty to animals. I think it's awesome that you can go against the mainstream ways and do what's truly right. I'm working on cutting all meat and animal by-products out f my diet and I'm trying to convince my family that it's the right thing to do. You know what they say, 'The right road is never the most traveled'. Thank you for opening my eyes and probably saving my life."

"I thank you for opening my eyes to this issue. Ever since your presentation, I have not had any meat or milk. I am not sure if I can continue it, but I know that there will be a definite change in my diet. You truly impacted me."

"Let me tell you that I have not eaten any meat since that presentation. I can't think of anything but those poor animals. You informed me of what I didn't want to know, but it was useful and I'm glad you did."

"You have changed my entire perspective on life—okay maybe not entirely—but you sure made me think. Since your presentation, I have not eaten any meat because I am ashamed and disgusted with the human race. I know that you changed a lot of people's minds. I am slowly but surely becoming a vegetarian."

"You are by far one of the best speakers I've seen, in part by your passion. I was completely ignorant to animal rights. This is a real eye-opener. Going into your lecture, I never imagined that animals could be murdered. Some thought you were crazy, but you could be the closest I've seen to a crusader for peace."

"You really changed my views about eating animal products. I won't ever look at a hamburger or a piece of chicken the same ever again. I have not decided whether I'm giving up animal products for good, but thus I haven't been able eat any meat even though I wanted to. Without the video you showed us, I never would have believed it really happened."

"I thought you were awesome. The way you put everything together and the things you showed really made an impact. I was never a big meat eater, but after your presentation, I will not eat any meat. I agree that it is wrong and un-human. My dad and I argue all the time about animals being used for food, and I can honestly say I put some sense into him last night. My family decided to cut back on meat and dairy, as well as leather and animal products. Thank you for your time and effort. You really made a difference."

"I've made an effort to cut back on meat and dairy products and think twice about what I'm eating. I told my parents all about the things I learned from you and we've gone grocery shopping for soy foods to replace some of the meat. I'd like to become a vegetarian. I can only hope that my fellow students got as much out of your speech as I did."

"In my three-year high school career, this has been the most informative, touching, and inspirational thing that has happened to me. In a society that is bent on lies, and the 'All-American-Way', a good eye-opener was what some of us really needed. I have decided to become a vegetarian. I feel as though anything that breathes should have a shot at life. I wasn't put on this earth to be murdered and eaten, and why is it that people feel an animal was? I feel as though life is a beautiful thing and should be shared with all, even the animals. So I thank you, thank you for letting me see the truth. This is something for me that will enhance my morals."

"On an optimistic note, I have cut down my meat consumption. I've even arranged for a group of friends (about 10) to try the veggie burger at Ruby Tuesday's like you suggested. In fact, I felt so passionately about your speech, I got into a big argument with my dad, and got grounded. Your message has not fallen on deaf ears."

"I have decided to become vegan. I never thought I would be an animal rights supporter because I don't like animals. I want to thank you for enlightening me on this subject. I would be interested to know how your quest is going."

"Honestly, your presentation questions my character because I wish I was ignorant to the fact."

"All in all, I think your presentation is a wonderful learning experience for everyone, meat-eaters and non meat-eaters. And I believe more people should be better informed on what really goes on, so even if they are not willing to change, they at least have knowledge of what's going on."

"Your presentation touched me. I am furious I remained in such ignorant oblivion for so long. The videos were horrible and beneficial, and I wish to share it with those who did not attend your presentation. I grew angry with some of my friends, who after the talk, remained stubborn in their views about animal rights. I realize everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I can't understand how some people can be arrogant about something so brutal. Now when I go get something to eat, the idea of eating meat makes me shudder and feel literally sick."

"Your presentation opened my eyes to what's going on out there that no one wants to talk about. After your presentation, I decided to become vegetarian. I can only hope that others realize what's going on and become vegetarian. Thanks for showing me what others were hiding from me."

"Your presentation produced a great impact on my life. I am in the process of becoming a vegetarian at the moment. I also think the visual impact was worth so much, a picture is worth 1,000 words." Jessica E.

"After your presentation, I got that last needed push to become a vegetarian."

"I highly enjoyed your presentation. I love being able to open my mind and take in new things. I can't believe it isn't illegal for those people to treat animals so badly. I want to know more about substitution meat. I hate the fact that I have been raised in a conditioning environment thinking that those heartless things were acceptable. Good luck in making the world a better place."

"I was shocked to see how badly those animals were treated. I never knew that anything that bad went on. I am glad I got to see this and learn the facts about food and animals. I'm not sure I will change completely, but I may try it."

"I respect your ideals and what you are doing to make our world a better place. It's good to know that there are people out in this world that don't want to accept 'tradition' just because it's 'tradition'. You have provided me with an alternative way of thinking. Thank you for the enlightenment. It has made me more aware of many aspects of this world."

"Your speech greatly affected the way that I'm going to live my life from this day forward. Both me and a couple of friends are trying to be vegetarians now."

"I had been a vegetarian for about a year and a half, but recently went back to meat products. Now that I have seen your speech, it has given me incentive to go back to strictly eating vegetarian."

"I can no longer eat a piece of meat without the picture of tortured animals in my head. Milk just makes me sick and I refuse to drink it. Thank you for the realization, or I guess the eye-opener."

"You have changed the way I look at all animal products. I am thinking of becoming a vegetarian. Watching and listening to your presentation made it so I couldn't even eat my sandwich for lunch that day."

"You have impacted me personally, and I am going to work on cleaning up my eating habits. I like the way you explained that we are naturally herbivores. I don't see how anyone could disagree with you. Thank you for opening up my eyes and explaining everything so well."

"I think many people in the crowd were affected by what you had to say. I think that a good portion of the crowd is going to either cut out or cut down on meat consumption. It looks as if you swayed a good portion of the crowd with your opinion."

"I was completely disgusted with the footage and it had made me think twice about eating meat. I went home and told my family about everything that was said. I showed them the booklet and shared with them my opinions. It was educational and informative."

Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:42 AM

First off, I would like to tell you that you have an incredible delivery of your lecture information. I used to be a member of PETA in high school but for some reason I quit the whole tofu deal and convinced myself that "God created animals to serve man." Ever since watching the video, it literally makes me sick to drink milk. Now I'm trying to dump the meat again which will be better for me anyway. Plus I know it will help me lose weight again. The part in the video about the circus and euthanizing the puppies almost made me cry. As for the circus--to think an endangered creature gets beaten for entertainment is just wrong. One interesting point that you brought up was that feminists tend to lean toward vegetarianism. I am a 'feminist', social work major.

Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 5:35 PM

Thank you so much for coming to Louisiana for the student council conference on Jan. 19. You were so great, and since you came, a lot of the people you talked to have become vegan too! Thanks again, you're a huge inspiration!

Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 12:55 PM

Thank you very much for inviting us to eat dinner yesterday with you and your friends. I had a very good time and so did my friend, Natalie, and her mother. It was actually great food, and it was fun talking about the things we did. Natalie probably already told you but I am starting to become vegetarian and Natalie is becoming one and trying to become vegan also. Her mother actually decided to try and become vegetarian on the way home also, she said it wouldn't hurt. So if you are ever up for going and don't mind us tagging along on another day, please email us we would love to go. It was great meeting all you guys and it was much fun. Thank you for everything.

Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 12:30 PM

Thanks for coming to talk to us at Oakland U. the other day. It was very informational and I loved your enthusiasm. Thanks so much. Good luck with your tour!

Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 4:22 PM

People here (NJ) are still buzzing about your December 12, 2002, speech at Brookdale Community College! Ever since I received your DVD, I haven't even actually had it in my possession! Everyone wants to borrow it!

Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 12:21 PM

Just wanted to let you know the lecture on Friday at Oakland U. had quite an impact on me. The reason it hit me hard wasn't just the graphic video, which by itself is reason enough to be shocked. I have been feeling guilty for years about eating meat. I deliberately avoided watching this kind of video footage so I could go on guiltlessly eating my chicken. I switched to organic meat a few years ago rationalizing that at least they had better lives than their Con-Agra and Tyson cousins. Now I believe I will finally listen to what my conscience has been telling me all these years. I will never forget those Neanderthals beating those elephants. It makes me cry every time I think of it. I've been hugging my dog all weekend! Anyway...thanks for raising a little consciousness.

Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 2:21 AM

I wanted to Thank You for speaking in my class at Oakland U. You really opened my eyes to a lot of things and I am going to work on becoming a vegan. Before I ate little to no meat but, from what was said I realized that that was not enough. After class I went home to share what I have learned and what was brought to my attention -- with people I know but, I couldn't say the things you said. I was just wondering if there was still a way to purchase a DVD of your presentation?

Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 2:08 AM

I saw you speak at Oakland U. today and am very interested. I want to know if there is any ways of me being able to get your DVD. You really touched me and I would like to hear the lecture in more detail so I can help spread the word! Good Luck on all of you school tours.

Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 8:23 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and send me information on great vegan foods. I actually just came back from Kroger and picked up some great soy yogurt, ice cream, and veggies burgers. Some of which you recommended. You might be pleased to hear that I have been spreading the information about veganism to others and have been quite successful. My boyfriend has decided to cut down on his meat and eat more soy and non dairy products.

Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 11:02 AM

I attended the speech today at Oakland U. and, needless to say, it woke me up. I mean, I've read about things like that, but I guess you really never get them in your head unless you see it first hand. Even though it's just a video, it still woke me up. I'm very interested in learning more about the vegan diet. If you could send me that food list you were talking about, I'd really appreciate it. Very good speech today. I really think I'm not the only one you affected. So thanks for opening my eyes.

Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 12:25 PM

I just wanted to thank you for that wonderful presentation at Wayne State U. the other day. It really moved me and it motivated me to cut back on the animal products that I consume and use. I am also interested in that complete list of foods that you mentioned you had. Thank you for your time, and good luck in your future.

Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 11:38 PM

I recently listened to one of your speeches at Eisenhower High School on 01/29/03. I will not lie, at the beginning of your presentation, I didn't care for what you had to say. And it wasn't really until a day later that I realized how true many of your comments were about animal rights. I was disgusted by the real truth of what is really happening to animals. Again, I will not lie. I do eat meat mostly a lot of poultry. I am not a large fan of red meat. But I really am wondering what I can do to slowly replace meat in my diet. Another thing you said that is sticking with me—which is not your exact words—but at least is what I received—is that people can't always swallow the truth. We don't want to believe it because sometimes the truth hurts. I feel your speaking has changed many peoples' lives. And I will try hard to improve my diet and lower my intake of meat. So again I thank you and I am looking forward to hearing from you, and hoping to keep in touch with you to discuss things and hopefully answer questions that I may have in the near future.

Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:51 PM

You spoke at my school (Eisenhower) on Tuesday about animal rights. I am sending you this e-mail to thank you for coming. You have truly changed my life for the better. I thought you were a very powerful and educated speaker and you have taught me so much. I have now decided to become a vegan because I do not want to contribute to the mistreatment and murder of God's animals. The video really opened my eyes to what's really going on and it hurt me more than anything. I want to help! Please e-mail me some ways to get involved to help stop the inhumanity that's going on in our world. Again, thank you so much!!

Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 8:13 PM

You gave a presentation at my school yesterday, Eisenhower. I have to say, you really inspired me. Seeing your selflessness for your cause made me want to do something for the cause too. See, I am definitely planning on going vegan. I really would like to get involved in some animal rights organization. I'm tired of sitting back here, idle, and not contributing to something I believe in. I guess I just e-mailed you to say that you have inspired me, and I thank you a lot. My psychology teacher, Mr. Roth, is planning on doing a significant section of the semester dedicated to animal testing and animal rights and the sorts. I feel this year will be the year of positive change for many Eisenhower students.

Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 12:26 AM

I go to Eisenhower. I was really inspired by your performance this afternoon to become vegan. I've always hated meat, but my mom forced it on me because she said it was better for me. Now that I know it's not, I can stop eating it right away without problems. Thanks for your speech.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 7:00 PM

I go to Eisenhower H.S. where I was fortunate enough to watch your speech. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I was heavily influenced by it. It's funny because a long time ago I got a PETA handbook, went vegetarian for a while, and then went astray. But your speech showed me why I did it in the first place. Now I'm eating morning star shit like it was my job.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 3:19 PM

I'm a student at Eisenhower High School and I just wanted to let you know what an impact you had on me today. I never thought anyone could ever make me think about being a vegetarian, but after listening to you today, I am actually considering it, or at least majorly cutting down on my meat intake. I never thought anyone had a good enough point for me to stop eating meat, but now I see why I should. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to this information.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 5:04 PM

I was at you speech today at Eisenhower High School. And I was really moved and disgusted. I am glad you came to our school. I want to become a vegetarian, and I would really appreciate it if you would send me like a list of food I can eat. And I would really appreciate it if you would name some brands of tofu that are good. Thank you very much.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 2:57 PM

Hey I saw your presentation today at Eisenhower High School. I tried to go vegetarian before and it only lasted about 8 months because I ran out of food ideas. Please if you have that time email me some good meals or diff. foods that you enjoy. I am going to go shopping and start out with some veggie burgers. Thanks so much for coming to talk to us.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 3:11 PM

I attend Eisenhower High School and saw your presentation about the vegan diet. I am really interested into becoming a vegan or at least a vegetarian for the time being.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 12:50 AM

Since we last saw you (at Midwestern State U. in Texas) our entire family has become vegan. We have given away all our leather, down and pearls, not that there were that many! We have, all four, dedicated our lives to veganism and activism. My 14-year-old brother-in-law is vegan, too. Thank you for enlightening us. Our lives have been so much better due to veganism. My little one, Donovan, is primarily breastfed, and will only know a vegan lifestyle.

From: Professor John Simecek (Oakland U.)
Sent: Saturday, January 4, 2003 3:48 AM
Subject: Comments from a few students at Oakland U.

"There was no 'I'm not going to listen' or 'I'm not going to look' mentality of those in attendance. Yourofsky was inescapable. The pain and suffering of these animals was inhaled, and when one went to exhale, nothing came out but air."

"While in that room, the only thing on our minds was how the consumption of animal flesh is ungodly immoral. That's right, immoral. He caused the audience, if only for a short time, to take a long hard look at their morals, their ethics, their virtues, their logic. They began to think 'maybe I shouldn't eat meat' and 'maybe what I have been doing my whole life is wrong.' Tears were shed by some, and nausea felt by others."

"Sure, the massacring of hundreds of thousands of Jews in concentration camps was sad, but in that instance we were killing our own species, not millions of harmless animals. No matter how much the audience squirmed, Yourofsky's appeal to the logic and reason of the crowd was unquestionable. One student thought that '[. . .] any petty fault we find in Yourofsky's presentation would not be enough to crack this altercation. Most of his presentation was very powerful and almost solely based on factual information.' To get someone to even think that the morality that he or she had been spoon-fed for eighteen to twenty years could be wrong is no elementary task, but Yourofsky was able to succeed in doing this."

"Pathos was the area in which Yourofsky shined. His every word was dripping with emotions. His excitement about veganism, his grief at the horrific animal abuse taking place in the world today, as well as his impatience for the rest of the world to act against speciesism, were all apparent to the audience. One of Professor Simecek's students claimed that you should 'support and do what you feel passionate about, and if your passion is being vegan, then go for it. This is all Yourofsky was doing in his argument: voicing something he is passionate about; and we need more people like him being passionate about things that need to be changed. You've got to give him credit even if you don't agree with him; at least he is doing something about what he feels needs to be changed, which is something that not many of us can say we do.' Yourofsky's success in appealing to the audience caused mouths to gape, tears to well up, and hearts to pound. He had not only reached his audience, but had also grabbed students' hearts and squeezed."

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