Passersby in White Plaza early this week were greeted with vegan cookies and approached with the opportunity to learn more about factory farms through the Glass Walls exhibit, which featured video of animal slaughters, facts about animal abuse in farms and even a life-sized battery cage filled with fake chickens.
People for Animal Welfare (PAW), a student organization founded during winter quarter, brought the Glass Walls exhibit to campus in collaboration with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with the goal of promoting awareness on campus of animal rights issues and further expanding the group’s presence.
According to Kenneth Montville, college campaign coordinator for PETA, the Glass Walls exhibit has already made its way to over 70 colleges in the United States, including Yale, UC-San Diego, UCLA, Georgetown and Texas. Stanford was the second-to-last stop of this specific exhibit, before a new rendition will be released next fall.
The mission of Glass Walls closely aligns with that of PAW, which is why David Kay ’16, president of PAW, and first-year law student Eitan Fischer, a member of the group, worked to bring the Glass Walls to Stanford.
“We grow up with this fairytale of a happy red barn on beautiful green pastures, but that isn’t the reality,” said Sacha Sweet, administrator of the touring exhibit. “We want this exhibit to show that, and to show people the amount and propensity of abuse these animals go through every day. People need to see these real images and know the truth for themselves.”
Fischer, who experienced Glass Walls while an undergraduate at Yale, initially suggested the idea.
“We had an overwhelmingly positive response when we hosted [The] Glass Walls at Yale,” he said. “We had hundreds of students go through, and many of them expressed that they had never known this information before. Given PAW’s new role on campus, this exhibit was a great way to increase its presence while educating the Stanford community on an important issue.”
Currently, PAW is the only undergraduate group on campus that is focused exclusively on animal welfare. So far, PAW’s two main strategies for accomplishing its mission to reduce animal suffering are lobbying institutions on campus to be more humane and raising awareness, Kay explained. The goal is to expose the suffering endured by animals and to provide people with easy ways that they can make an impact.
Although PAW only officially became a club last quarter, it has made a considerable impact despite their limited resources and size.
“We hand out leaflets with tips on how to go vegan,” Kay said. “We’ve cosponsored events that raise awareness of the dog meat festival in China or about the ag-gag laws in the United States. We met with Challah for Hunger and urged them to offer a vegan flavor.”
With funding granted a few days ago, PAW plans to expand its presence in various ways.
“We’re planning on volunteering at an animal shelter, having some sort of activism [or] awareness event on the orcas at SeaWorld and maybe even campaigning for animal-friendly politicians,” Kay said.
Contact Angelique Dakkak at angeldak ‘at’ stanford.edu.