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Monday, December 22, 2014

Touring truck pays students $1 to watch video of factory farm animal abuse

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Gaetane Pierre Louis, 19, left, and Ajasha Silver, 18, stand in shock as they watch a video that shows the cruel treatment of farm animals. The nonprofit organization Farm Animal Rights Movement is on their 10 Billion Lives Tour across the United States.

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Students may rethink going to their favorite restaurant for a green chile cheeseburger after Wednesday’s demonstration.

The Farm Animal Rights Movement’s “10 Billion Lives” tour truck showed up in front of the SUB on Wednesday. FARM paid students $1 to watch a graphic four-minute video on food-industry practices that involve abusing chickens, turkeys, cattle and pigs in factory farms.

The video’s title, “10 Billion Lives,” refers to the number of animals slaughtered each year for food. FARM is a nonprofit organization and all the funding for its campaigns comes from donations.

“There’s a lot of cruelty involved with your food,” said Andy Tabar, the tour operator in charge of the North American leg of the tour. “We show fully legal industry practices in the animal industry, from raising to slaughter.”

Students watched the video at stations in the side of the truck Wednesday. Some students were unaware of the practices depicted in the video.

“I thought it was very informative, we really don’t know where our food comes from or what happens,” said Joe Garcia, a graduate student studying educational leadership. “Awareness is important.”

“I knew about bad practices we had, but I never knew the full extent,” said Omar Torres, a mechanical engineering major. “I feel like (the video) is slapping you in the face. But if you don’t see it or talk about it, you don’t get it.”

But not all students were taken by surprise regarding the video’s content.

“I had known about this, I took a culinary class in high school, and they showed us a video like this then,” said Tania Delgadillo, a biology major. “I’m stopping eating meat now.”

Tabar said the focus of the tour is to expose industry practices and convince people to stop eating meat.

“We’re not focusing on legislation or reforming laws,” Tabar said. “We’re trying to bring everyone into the vegan lifestyle and end the demand for animal products.”

Though the video focuses exclusively on land animals, Tabar emphasized that marine animals should not be forgotten.

“The level of abuses is the same for fish, and it’s sometimes worse,” Tabar said.

Tabar said a presentation at Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources resulted in some students thinking twice about their majors.

“We got mixed reactions,” said Tabar. “Some animal science students dismissed us, but some said, ‘I’m changing my major after viewing this.’”

The 10 Billion Lives video and more information about FARM’s truck tour can be found at 10billiontour.org