Animal Rights Collective Blog

GMU Coverage of Animal Rights Course by christine

Classes We Love: Course Explores Animal Rights Movement

By Jason Jacks on July 18, 2011

from “The Mason Spirit”

In one grainy movie clip, cows are shocked with electric prods to get them onto a truck. In another, stressed-out chickens are thrown into small crates as they’re being prepared for a trip to the slaughterhouse.

Gaining knowledge is not always for the squeamish, as is sometimes the case in one of Mason’s summer courses: Animal Rights and Humane Education.

Image: Paul Gorski teaches a new class about animal rights. (Photo by Nicolas Tan)

As the name suggests, the class explores—sometimes through difficult-to-watch films like the one described above—the movement to protect the other members of the animal kingdom. This is the first time the class is being offered at Mason.

Taught by Paul Gorski, an assistant professor of integrated studies in New Century College, the class touches on the testing of products on animals, the use of animals in entertainment, veganism, and animal fighting, as well as how animals are treated at large factory farms.

“I don’t see my role as preparing activists,” says Gorski, who is teaching the class as a section of NCLC 395 Special Topics in Experiential Learning. “I just see [animal rights] as a conversation in society that people are really interested in.”

This intensive two-week class is split into two sections. The first week takes place mostly in the classroom and includes guest speakers and field trips. During the second week, students spend much of their time working on class projects and meeting with Gorski online.

So far this summer, the class has visited a Maryland sanctuary for farm animals. There were also plans to attend the Taking Action for Animals conference in Washington, D.C.

During one recent class, a representative from the Humane Society of the United States spoke about the brutal conditions some farm animals endure and the increasingly popular trend of “Meatless Mondays,” where consumers forgo meat for one day a week.

On the same day, students also watched “Meet Your Meat,” a short film narrated by actor Alec Baldwin filled with hard-to-watch clips of the maltreatment of animals at some unnamed factory farms.

“I want to go home and throw everything out of my refrigerator,” one student says moments after watching the film.

Katie Isaacman, a senior majoring in integrated studies and a member of the class, has been a vegetarian since age 6. She says she avoids meat for ethical reasons, as she is a strong believer in animal rights.

“It was tough to watch,” she says of the film. “But it’s important to show people what is going on.”

A social justice scholar, much of Gorski’s previous scholarly work has focused on the more human-centric topics of gender, poverty, and racism. He is the founder of, a coalition of educators and activists who develop free social justice resources.

To prepare himself for teaching the animal rights class, he read extensively on the subject and took courses on animal protection offered by the Humane Society.

He says classes dedicated solely to animal rights are rare at universities. Those that do offer similar courses, he explains, usually do so through their philosophy departments.

He hopes his class will at least “incite interest” in students to continue studying animal rights.

“I think this class will put animal rights as a potential field of study on the radar screens of some students,” he says.

And if it goes a step further and spurs some into becoming full-fledged animal rights activists, then, “that would be great, too,” he says.

Reportback: “Meat Your Meat” Pay-Per-View 9/16/2010 by christine
September 21, 2010, 12:12 pm
Filed under: AR Event, ARC Events, Local Events, Reportback, Video | Tags: , ,

ARC and Compassion for Animals (CfA) screened “Meat Your Meat” to GMU community members on September 16th, 2010. Students, staff, and

faculty could earn $1 for watching a 4 minute segment of the film which documents the suffering and exploitation of animals endured as standard practices at factory farming facilities and slaughterhouses. We encourage everyone that partakes in meat consumption and animal exploitation to educate themselves about what they are endorsing and to question if these choices are truly aligned with their morals. 36 people watched the full segment, and 5 people refused to take the dollar.

The next PPV at GMU is on Thursday, October 7, from 3-7pm at JC kiosk B!


Watch “Meet Your Meat!”

February Pay-Per-View Reportback by christine
February 10, 2010, 7:29 pm
Filed under: AR Action, ARC Events, Reportback, Video | Tags: , ,

Compassion for Animals (CfA) and the Animal Rights Collective (ARC) hosted our third Pay-Per-View session at GMU last week. Students earned $1 to viewed a four minute segment of “Meet Your Meat” to teach them more about standard farming practices. Over 35 students watched the video and several participants even refused the dollar! Thanks to CfA for helping out and coming up with this innovative concept!

Special thanks to Gabriela Galeano for being our photographer!

Watch “Meat Your Meat” and start changing your life!

Pay-Per-View Reportback by christine
December 7, 2009, 2:52 am
Filed under: ARC Events, Local Events, Video | Tags: , ,

Compassion for Animals and the Animal Rights Collective hosted two Pay-Per-View sessions at GMU this semester. Students earned $1 to view a four minute segment of “Meet Your Meat.” Thanks to Holly and Gary of CfA for bringing this incredible project to our campus!

Liberation Week Reportback by christine

The Animal Rights Collective invited peta2 to campus to display their Liberation Project, a series of visual panels that look back to the justifications that have been used to exploit humans in the past and how the same excuses are being used to exploit animals today. This display reminds us that “might does not make right.”

We had an overwhelmingly positive response as we handed out thousands of flyers and pieces of literature, shared and listened to some amazing stories, and debunked myths. The week finished off with a screening of “Liberation” and “Meet Your Meat,” which a group of dedicated and inspiring people attended – refusing to turn away from the exploitation that so many people can’t face and yet force animals to endure 24/7 because of the choices they make.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls,

everyone would be vegetarian.”

– Paul McCartney


The Liberation Project on the JC North Plaza

Line & Adrianne

peta2 Liberationistas Collecting Signatures

Ringling Beats Elephants

Animal Liberation by the Clocktower

Vegan Cooking CLass

The week started off with a Vegan Cooking Class, which taught students how to make simple and cruelty-free dishes in their microwave. Here a student is mixing up microwavable chocolate cake. The recipes were from peta2’s “Vegan College Cookbook,” click here for some sample recipes.

Thanks to everyone that stopped by, helped out, and took our literature!

Read About it in Broadside

Listen to it on Connect2Mason

If you missed it, visit the Animal Liberation Project interactive gallery online.

If you missed the viewing of “Liberation” and “Meet Your Meat,” watch them here:

Student Group On Campus Unites Forces with PETA: New Organization Promotes Animal Rights

Tue, 10/06/2009 – 14:33

By Brenda Shepard, Broadside Correspondent

The Animal Rights Collective organization will be holding Animal Liberation Week, today through Thursday, Oct. 8. Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to engage in conversation and educate themselves about animal rights, animal abuse and the choice to live a vegan lifestyle.

ARC, in conjunction with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, will be showing a series of visual displays, entitled the Animal Liberation Project. The exhibit looks back through a history of human slavery, showing the juxstaposition of the justifications for animal cruelty today. The exhibit will be on the North Plaza of the Johnson Center on Oct. 7 at 11 a.m.

“It’s so ingrained in our culture to eat meat,” said senior conservation biology and global affairs major Christine Kauffman. “Animals can feel and suffer just like humans do. Now we have the means to end their suffering because of us.”

The ARC is in its first semester as a recognized group on campus, but has spent many years protesting the circus at George Mason University.

Organizers of the event said that after seeing PETA’s display on the National Mall this summer, the group contacted PETA, who was receptive and excited to include Mason on its college tour of the exhibit. PETA will have representatives on campus this week to answer questions and educate people who are interested in getting involved with their cause.

Other than the visual display, other campus events associated with Animal Liberation Week will include a vegan cooking class today based on PETA’s “Vegan College Cookbook,” as well as a film screening of Liberation, in Student Union Building II on Thursday Oct. 8.

When asked why students should come and see the The Animal Liberation Project, junior biology major Jen Beidel said, “You have to educate yourself. [Animal] abuse comes from people who aren’t educated. You can tell somebody all day, but they have to want to change themselves.”

Other activities that ARC has planned for their premier semester include making bird feeders to create space for wildlife that has been displaced by construction, a Halloween vegan bake sale and a screening of the film Earthlings, according to the organization’s website.

“It’s time to start living up to our values and stop making excuses. It’s in the entertainment we watch and even the clothes we wear. Images and videos are a lot harder to forget,” said Kauffman.

All events during Animal Liberation Week are free and open to the public. ARC has weekly meetings on Tuesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. in Student Union Building I. For more information, visit