By Greg Lawson -
One of the great benefits of being president of the
Vegetarian Society of El Paso is that I am frequently asked to give
talks to local clubs and high schools. I always feel that if I reach
just one person my time will have been well spent. A month or so ago, I
was asked to give a talk at an area elementary school to a 5th grade
class. I readily agreed but as the date approached I began to worry how
much they could absorb and I wondered how much I should expose them too.
It's not that I believe young people should be sheltered from the truth,
but I didn't want to upset them or get angry phone calls from parents -
"What have you done to my kid? He won't drink his milk."
I arrived at the school last Tuesday and met with the
Librarian, Mrs. Williams, who had invited me. She thanked me for coming
and said that she was looking forward to my talk as her daughter was a
vegetarian. "She had Dr. Steve Best for a class and came home one day
and announced she was a vegetarian." I laughed and shook my head, "You
wouldn't believe how many times I have heard that exact same story."
Steve teaches Philosophy (heavy on animal rights) at the
University of Texas, El Paso, is a fellow journalist for Animal Writes,
Vice President of Vegetarian Society of El Paso , <http://utminers.utep.edu/vsep>,
President of VOICE FOR ALL ANIMALS <http://www.zianet.com/boje/voice/index.html>,
and is one of the most active animal advocates I know. I am really
looking forward to hearing his talks at AR2002. Animal Rights 2002
"I have never spoken to a group so young before," I told
Mrs. Williams. "It will be a challenge. One thing I am surprised about
though, you didn't ask me if I would be talking about slaughterhouses or
showing graphic pictures."
She laughed, "I would have asked that question if we
were having Steve Best here instead of you."
"I can't imagine Steve giving a speech to ten year olds,
that wouldn't be pretty," I cringed. "Do you have any books on
vegetarianism in your library?"
"No, we don't. Can you recommend some titles?" she
"We might have some children's books in the Veg Society
library, I'll make sure you get a book or two and we have a pamphlet
called Vegetarianism for Teens. I'll get you some of those."
"Thank you, that would be great," she said.
So I talked to the kids, and I was careful to avoid
words like "sustainability." I showed them some fact sheets I use with
an overhead projector at our society's annual vegetarian workshop and I
tried to speak so 5th graders could understand.
The Only witty thing I have Ever seen Anti animal rights
people say was to call people like me PETAphiles, LOL, and I sure was
feeling like one.
And the moment I had been hoping for happened. When I
had finished with the heath reasons for vegism, I said "Many of us
choose to be vegetarians cause we don't want to hurt animals, or cause
them pain." And I saw one little girl nodding her head vigorously and I
knew my time had been well spent.
Go on to Feeling
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