BYU Vegan and Vegetarian Club show “Cowspiracy” to raise awareness

BYU Vegan and Vegetarian Club will screen “Cowspiracy,” a documentary about the negative effects of animal agriculture. (Camilo Mejia)

The BYU Vegan and Vegetarian club is presenting the movie “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” at the Varsity Theater in the Wilkinson Student Center on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

“Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” is a documentary examining the negative environmental effects of animal agriculture.

Club presidency member Anna O’Bryan said the club wants to present this movie because it approaches the topic of eating meat differently and in a relatable way for many BYU students.

“The environmental issues are something people don’t think about,” O’Bryan said. “They don’t think about meat-eating as a cause for a lot of environmental problems, and there are a lot of BYU students who care about the environment.”

This is the club’s first public movie screening. The event is free to the public, and there will be vegan food provided after the event. Local restaurants including the Corner Bakery Cafe and Einstein Bros. Bagels are donating food, and the club will also provide vegan ice cream. The presidency hopes club members and non-club members attend, according to O’Bryan.

“Helping the environment and helping the animals is not just a vegan issue. It’s a human issue,” O’Bryan said. “If it was only the vegans that came, then you would be preaching to the choir.”

The club’s president Kimberly Flores compared the movie to “Blackfish” and “An Inconvenient Truth,” popular documentaries about animal rights and global warming, respectively. Flores encouraged fans of those two movies to come see “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.”

Flores said the club serves as a support system for students who are living the lifestyle, or are trying to live the lifestyle.

“The club is just a community where they can be with people who are also doing the same thing,” Flores said.

Presidency member Camilo Mejia said he is surprised by how many people approach the club’s booth in the Wilkinson Student Center and say they are vegetarian.

“There is actually a big vegetarian population at BYU,” Mejia said. 

Club members meet weekly to discuss topics related to three reasons for becoming vegan: ethics, environment and health.

However, the club isn’t exclusively for vegans and vegetarians, according to Mejia. He explained anyone is welcome even though the majority of the club membership is either vegan or vegetarian.

“We have people that are not even close to being vegetarian. They just want to come and learn how to cook with more vegetables, or they just want to make more friends,” Mejia said.

The club, beyond its regular weekly meetings, volunteers at an animal sanctuary in Herriman, Utah, and hosts potlucks. The club is also working to encourage BYU Dining Services to provide more vegetarian and vegan options.

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