(US-va) Cookout has a different type of 'beef'
- Two University of Mary Washington groups with divergent ideologies met
in conflict yesterday over hot dogs and hamburgers, so to speak.
The scent of charcoal-grilled meat wafted across the green of Lee
Hall's lawn. Students in flip-flops and shorts lined up to dig in,
paper plates in hand. Hip-hop played on loud speakers.
Just a few feet away, about 20 activists with signs gathered on the
paved courtyard in front of the building.
The College Republicans held a cookout yesterday afternoon--calling it
the "Animal Rites Barbecue."
Animal Rights Club members and supporters protested the event with
signs and literature.
In total, about 100 students were drawn to the activity in front of Lee Hall.
College Republicans member Andrew Lamar initiated the cookout two
years ago, he said, to draw attention to the extremism of the animal
rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"We all think animals should be treated fairly," Lamar said, adding
the event had nothing to do with the Animal Rights Club.
"PETA, however, has been documented to go and blow up animal research
labs. We think that's extreme."
He and fellow members were distributing anti-People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals fliers that were produced by the Center for
Freshman Jeff May, member of both the Animal Rights Club and the
Anarchist Social Theory Club, said there were a number of reasons to
protest the event.
"I'm here because the College Republicans are sponsored by the Center
for Consumer Freedom which is basically a group funded by the tobacco
industry to keep people from knowing about their products," he said.
"Now they're doing the same thing for the food you eat. This isn't
just about animal rights. It's about your health as well."
Meanwhile, the "Hip Hop Fest," a music event put on by the Black
Student Alliance and Brothers of a New Direction, was drawing a crowd
of its own on the pavement in front of Lee Hall.
"This hip-hop celebration is put on by members of the Black Student
Alliance," announced master of ceremonies Cherelle Reed by microphone.
"We are a neutral group. We eat burgers and some of us are vegan," she
said in a playful manner.
Post-fete, the Animal Rights Club showed films about the treatment of
"meat" animals, as well as reasons to consider vegetarianism and a
pro-animal rights lifestyle.
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