Animal activist bus in Bosco Plaza sparks contrasting views

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Quick, if you had to make a decision right now, which would you choose: friends or food?

Two weeks ago, the Farm Animal Rights Movement’s “10 Billion Lives” bus was stationed at Bosco Student Plaza asking students to reflect on their dieting choices – especially those who enjoy eating meat. Members of the nonprofit organization shared a four-minute video about animal rights to college students in exchange for $1.

When the video ended a question appeared, asking the viewer how much meat they would be willing to cut out of their diet right then and there.

“Eighty percent pledged to make a change in their diet after watching the video,” Jill Lowry, national tour lead for “10 Billion Lives,” said.

Chesley Kilgore, sophomore in secondary English, chose to still eat meat after watching the video and said “the video did not affect me enough to change my eating habits.”

Taylor Green, freshman in agronomy, had a differing perspective after the four minutes were up.

“I think they have a right to their opinion,” Green said. “What they show (though) is not a representation of the industry as a whole.”

Viewers were then given their dollar, along with a pamphlet that introduced ideas of how to become vegan.

“We’re not trying to tell people what to do,” Lowry said. “We’re trying to raise awareness of what the USDA says happens to most animals.”

The “10 Billion Lives” bus wasn’t only advocating animal rights, however. Joshilyn Binkley, freshman in economics, watched the video and said she likes the environmental awareness that the “10 Billion Lives” tour is bringing to college campuses.

“I am involved in environmental issues and I like that they’re telling people about the drainage of the Ogallala Aquifer due to crops,” Binkley said.

The tour is a non-profit organization through the Farm Animal Rights Movement.

“We visit different college campuses by starting in Tennessee and ending in California,” Lowry said.

By the last day of its K-State tour, the “10 Billion Lives” bus was rivaled by members from the student organization Food for Thought, who handed out fliers just a few feet away that contained common myths of agriculture compared to the actual facts.

Food for Thought, a major agriculture group on campus, advocates agriculture efficiency around campus and in the community.

“We are not trying to demote others’ beliefs, we are only trying to educate,” Conrad Kabus, freshman in agriculture economics, said.

According to Lowry, the “10 Billion Lives” tour includes an even split of schools with and without agriculture programs. When asked about the different reactions the bus draws, Lowry said it depends on the campus.

“If it is not an Ag school, people usually react, “’Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this happened!’” Lowry said.

The reactions Lowry receives from schools with an agriculture program such as K-State, however, are much different. “This is bad and does not happen on my farm,” is the usual reaction, according to Lowry.

No matter what the reaction may be, however, Lowry said she tries to find common ground.

Overall, though the two organizations have differing views on what to eat, one thing their members share is that they respectfully protest their beliefs and encourage others to develop their own.

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