Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jo(h)ns Upstate

John Oberg reports:
Great day of outreach at Cornell! Some nice volunteer help gave us the ability to break the previous record -- we handed 2,547 students a copy of Even If You Like Meat. We also handed out a whopping 67 Guides! Nearly everyone was very receptive. In fact, it was the largest number of veg students I've ever met. I personally met at least 30 vegetarians or vegans. Now, a few examples of Cornell's awesomeness...

1. One guy took a leaflet, walked a bit, then turned around and ran to Jon exclaiming "I've been waiting for vegetarians to put out a message like this for years!"

2. I met Leah, a girl who received a leaflet earlier in the day, who said that she read through the leaflet and it made her want to become a vegetarian. She happily took a Guide.

Jon Camp adds:
The most interesting part of my day was when three female students approached me and started asking quite pointed questions. Before I answered them, I smiled and said, "My guess is that you're ag students, right?" They smiled, responded that they were in fact ag students, then proceeded to ask a litany of questions.

I responded with answers that were more nuanced than they expected: that we weren't out to demonize farmers; that factory farming has put more farmers out of jobs than vegetarian advocates have; that factory farming has forced more farm animal breeds to extinction (by streamlining the genetic stock they choose from) than vegetarian advocates ever will; that I did not condone senseless vandalism in the name of animal advocacy; that my dad grew up on a farm in Iowa that raised animals and that I had a cousin who ran a pig farm and that I thought of them as good people; that our consumer preferences change and that just as we have gone from the landline to the cell phone or the PC to the laptop (and companies had to change their strategy if they were to stay in business), our food choices change and those selling food to the American public will have to adjust as well. The ag students (especially one of them) seemed impressed and engaged and we talked for a good 15-20 minutes while John leafleted. We ended up shaking hands and we all said that we learned a good deal from each other.

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