These past two weeks have been pretty interesting for PSU College of Ag students and vegetarian organizations across campus. Here's a brief summary of Meatout Day and Meat-In Day, complete with links to articles and letters to the editor of Penn State's Daily Collegian.

The Great American Meatout, held nationally every spring, is a program sponsored by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and encourages people to try meatless diets. The first article in this list (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2009/03/17/students_urged_to_r...) discussed a couple who were promoting the Meatout Day by giving out meatless samples and literature on vegetarian diets.

The following day on March 18, PETA supporter and non-PSU student Ryan Huling wrote a letter to the editor (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2009/03/18/promotion_of_meatle...), commending Penn State students for supporting a vegan lifestyle. Huling also went on to discuss the “horrors” of “factory farms.”

That same day, students in the College of Agricultural Sciences hosted a Meat-In Day, where they handed out literature promoting meat and dairy products as well as meat and dairy food samples. Agricultural students stood outside the HUB from 10 to 2 p.m. and in East Halls from 4 to 7 p.m.

On March 19, Nicholas Wingert, a freshman not in the College of Ag wrote a letter to the editor (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2009/03/19/practices_of_meat_f...), explaining the benefits and the safety of consuming meat. A Daily Collegian writer also covered Meat-In Day with this article (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2009/03/19/students_counter_an...).

The following week on March 23, Rusty Zufall, the President of the Penn State Vegetarian Club wrote a letter to the editor (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2009/03/23/meatin_protest_obst...), bashing Meat-In Day and calling College of Ag students “ignorant.” On March 24, Kristen Kelso, a freshman in Food Science wrote a letter to the editor (http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2009/03/24/ignorance_of_meats_...), mainly addressing the Vegetarian President’s comments.

Zufall's letter had me pretty fired up, but I think it did him more harm than good. Be sure to check out Kelso's letter. Out of all of these, I think hers was the most effective. She talked about how she's a meat-eater but has friends who are vegetarians - she respects their decision and they respect hers. She totally called out Zufall for referring to College of Ag students as ignorant.

I hope consumers at PSU realize they need to make their own decisions about what they eat and not rely on extreme activists to make their decisions for them. At the same time, we in the agricultural industry need to provide unbiased health information about our products and show these consumers that our methods of production are safe and ensure a quality product.

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Comment by Ryan Curtis on March 30, 2009 at 3:19pm
Very interesting blog. I tend to believe the people that want to educate me and then let me make my own choice rather than the extremists that want to force you to see and do just what they see and do. At the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge we talked about how to talk with people that don't live or work on a dairy, and how to talk to them. I commend the students at PSU for taking a stand and being available for others to talk to them and get the facts and not just scare tactics, which so often accompany PETA and HSUS campaigns.
Comment by Emily Caldwell on March 25, 2009 at 1:43pm
Thanks so much for posting, Christie and Christiana!

These ladies chaired the Meat-In Day event this year. Christi is a graduating senior, has served as a National Beef Ambassador and interned with the USDA Livestock and Seed Program last summer. Christiana is a freshman and super active in many College of Ag organizations, including Block and Bridle, Dairy Science Club, EARTH House and Penn State's newest ag organization, Collegiate Cattlewomen. They certainly did a great job in preparing for Meat-In Day and are wonderful representatives of today's ag industry!
Comment by Christiana Graver on March 25, 2009 at 1:31pm
Yes, I also like how you kept track of the "Letters to the Editor", etc. That last letter though was actually from my roomate, Kelso! She was never really into the whole "spreading the word about meat and dairy products", but she found that from having me as a roomate and learning the truth to the whole story, that she finds it ridiclious how people create many false stories on people in production agriculture, like us. I'm really proud of her for submitting the letter!
Comment by christie Molinaro on March 24, 2009 at 6:53pm
This is great blog article Emily, I like how you tracked the Collegian 'Letters to the Editor.' I too get fired up when reading some of these letters, especially from Zufall. I'm really encouraged that Penn State has 'ambassadors for agriculture' even outside of the College of Ag sharing their views. This just goes to prove to the vegetarian population that 'farm and non-farm' students are no longer standing by watching their meat-out events, we are actually doing something about it.

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