By Rachel Vinciguerra
The Environment and Wildlife Club (E&W) and the Vegetarian Club educated students about alternative diets with a screening of the film “Vegucated” last Tuesday.
Junior Karli Amstadt and sophomore Kerrigan Boyd hosted the event as a collaboration with E&W. Amstadt and Boyd decided to show the film as an extension of their joint SLU house project to start a vegetarian meal club.
Amstadt said they have hosted several events this semester to raise awareness about eating as a vegetarian or vegan, including two public “veggie meal nights”; a vegan potluck for club members; and tabling to encourage students to take a pledge for “meatless Mondays.”
Boyd said she believes educating people about the effects eating meat has on people and the environment was the most important outcome of the screening.
“People are good; they just don’t know bad things are happening based on the decisions they make about what to eat,” she said.
Released in 2010, “Vegucated” follows the experiences of three New Yorkers who go vegan for six weeks. Their primary motivations for trying the diet are to lose weight, look good and feel healthy. But as the weeks progress, they are also educated about where their meat comes from.
Video clips are included in the documentary showing some of the conditions animals deal with on large industrial farms. Some of these conditions for cows include undergoing procedures without anesthesia, being artificially inseminated and having their babies taken away from them for veal, and being shot through the head with a steel bullet as a means of slaughter.
One of the three participants asked in the film, “How is this allowed?”
In addition to the opposition to animal cruelty, the film also indicates vegans lead a healthier lifestyle, with a 26-percent lower chance of dying from heart disease. The environmental pressures of mass-producing meat are also addressed. The film indicates that by eating vegan for one year, individual carbon emissions can be reduced more than the reductions of driving a hybrid car for a year.
Junior Melodie Beeman-Black attended the film as a member of the Citizens of the World House. She said the film was very informative about the reasoning behind the vegan lifestyle.
“I think this is a film everyone should see at least once,” she said.
Beeman-Black said she tried veganism last spring for two and half months, and watching the film encouraged her to try it again.
“I know a lot of people aren’t aware of these issues as they should be,” she said.
Amstadt said she and Boyd wanted to show the film to educate to the study body, not to preach.
“It’s an ethical issue and conditions are really inhumane,” she said. “And we’re lucky enough to have a choice.”