PETA’s ‘Factory Farm’ at CSULB Draws Mixed Reactions • Long Beach Post


Photos courtesy of PETA.

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peta2, the youth division of animal rights group PETA, have brought their “factory farm” demonstration to Cal State Long Beach (CSULB), a 20-by-30-foot tent that corrals students to confined spaces while showing graphic videos of slaughterhouses. It will remain open on the campus through Wednesday.

The videos, a collage known as “Glass Walls” that is narrated by Paul McCartney, are shown to students in the hopes of shocking them into converting to vegetarian or veganism. The last time peta2 set up the factory farm tent on campus was October of last year.

“College is a time to consider new ideas, and peta2’s factory-farm display gives students an idea of how much suffering goes into a chicken nugget or a beef burger,” says peta2 Director Marta Holmberg. “Once students see what cows, chickens, and other animals go through on factory farms, in transit, and in slaughterhouses, they’ll want to load up their cafeteria trays with humane vegan selections.”

Student reactions to the demonstration’s presence were mixed, though the vast majority did find the video disturbing.

“The graphic videos… I’m not a fan of seeing them,” said communications major Anthony Matthews, who is vegan. “I know what happens at the factory farms and that’s why I am living this lifestyle. It may be dirty and hard to watch but it is a persuasion technique… It’s like a double edge sword. You’re gonna step on some toes, but if you don’t, people won’t listen or take you seriously. To some, PETA is the enemy, but for others, they are freedom fighters. Their hearts are in the right place even if they do things that seem a bit extreme.”

Peta02However, not all students were convinced and expressed outright disdain over the tactics used by PETA.

“I think PETA’s approach is far too aggressive for university students,” said English major Ricky Spiese. “The shock factor is there, yes, but I find it to be more shocking than informative. I think a more appropriate tactic for our campus would be to provide educational facts and statistics, rather than graphic images.”

While Spiese noted that there are two preschools on campus and expressed a fear of exposing too impressionable of eyes to disturbing images, student Cristina Robinson seemed to be more middle of the road: though graphic, these videos provide insight to how animals are treated.

“I think a lot of people come from families that don’t expose them to harsh realities of the world and college is the first time they get to see and experience things on their own,” said Robinson. “Going to events lets them find out what’s going on in the world on their own. I also think it’s really portably that people are able to back up what they believe and do so the more knowledge the better.”

A self-described vegetarian, she noted that the vegan lifestyle is difficult because she can’t afford to provide herself with enough nutrients should she entirely avoid animal products. This, however, doesn’t mean she—nor Matthews, not even Spiese and other meat-eaters—doesn’t want to see more vegan options on campus.

“I would absolutely love to see more vegetarian options at CSULB,” Robinson said. “I feel like I eat the same five things here over and over.”

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