WORDS Frances O’Brien
In 2012, a small group of Macquarie University students were drawn together by their common interest in animal rights. They were friends and acquaintances from Animal Liberation meetings in Sydney and Parramatta.
Since then, Animal Liberation @ Macquarie University (ALMU) has grown to a base membership of 30-50 students. Their mission is to educate and advocate for an ethical, cruelty-free lifestyle by avoiding use of animals. This follows the principles of animal rights that animals have their own intrinsic value and their own reasons for living.
ALMU intends to raise both awareness on campus and funds for the NSW branch of Animal Liberation. The group has a decentralised, flexible structure. Although executive positions technically exist, they are rarely exercised, with members encouraged to work jointly on group projects.
Last semester, ALMU hosted a screening of the documentary Forks Over Knives, which explores the idea that a vegan diet can lead to better health.
ALMU was also present during the viewing of the Melbourne Cup, the annual event played on the big screen in the courtyard. ALMU members handed out flyers detailing the ill-treatment of race horses to the watching crowd, and sold vegan truffles and brownies. With sizeable turnouts and the raising of much needed funds, both events were successful.
In 2013, ALMU is planning more activities: information stands and awareness campaigns, socials for like-minded people to meet, and many more film and documentary screenings.
ALMU’s advice for those seeking a cruelty-free lifestyle is to consider what they are buying. Was an animal involved in the creation of the product? How was the animal treated during or before the race or show or procession? Is there an ethical alternative?
For more information on ALMU, head to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/animallibmacuni or send your name, student/staff ID number and preferred email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.