By Laura MacInnes-Rae
Living a healthy lifestyle has become a part of popular culture. We’re living in an age that’s building itself around healthy living and fitness, but ever consider exploring the background of your food before it reaches your plate?
Ryerson’s Vegetarian Education Group (VEG) is a group on campus that strives to educate and promote the importance of vegetables.
But they don’t want peas with their carrots, they want change.
Formerly known as the Veg*an Club, VEG is led by a team of devoted animal rights advocates. The executive members leading the group said they hope to reach more students and teach them about an alternative food lifestyle.
“Our generation [of] potential game changers, need to be aware of the torment and torture non-human animals endure,” said VEG President Liza Lattanzio.
Members plan events ranging from workshops, guest speakers and educational film screenings, to participating in public protests at local Toronto meatpacker stockyards. They also attend anti-slaughterhouse movements. Their most recent protest took place earlier this month.
“This protest gave us the opportunity to come close to the cows,” Lattanzio said. “We had the opportunity to look into their eyes, connect with them on an intimate level and understand them as our equal.”
She said that her time at St. Helen’s Meatpackers was a chilling experience. On Nov. 6, protesters became distraught when they were presented the cows that were to be slaughtered that day. They obstructed the path of the approaching transport trucks, in which the protest then escalated.
It resulted in eight arrests, but it also became a vision of inspiration for those who demonstrate their determination for the vegan cause.
Although Lattanzio has not always been a vegan, she said that it only takes one conversation to provoke a understanding of ethics towards animals. She switched to veganism after linking her emotional attachment to her childhood pet and recognized the absurdity of killing sentient creatures.
VEG offers opportunities to educate and support vegans and the vegan-curious. Lattanzio said she believes that it’s important to be informed about the alternative ways people can live without harming animals.
For many, it comes down to questioning daily life necessities and considering more organic methods. Lattanzio said that you don’t need to eat beef to meet the daily protein quota and that a jacket doesn’t have to be made from down-feathers to keep you warm. Vegan values reflect a passion in protecting animals and proving that a plant-based diets allows humans and animals to co-exist in harmony.