Gary Yourofsky, who founded Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT) in 1996, the same year he became a vegan, is seriously dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. He has lectured to more than 50,000 students nationwide over the years. While 99 percent of his talks are in college classrooms, a few are in elementary, middle, and high schools.
“My 60-minute lecture is on veganism, the only way to express genuine kindness to ALL animals. I do 30 minutes on ethics, 15 on health, 10 on what to eat/how to eat, and 5 on the environment,” he said. He makes it clear he does not preach to the choir — the lectures are in private classes for philosophy, ethics, women’s studies, and other subjects.
Yourofsky has an impressive 15 percent rate of converting students from meat-eaters to vegan or vegetarian. In 2004 at SDSU, a hunter came up to him after class, took out his hunting and fishing licenses, ripped them up, and while pointing toward his heart, told Yourofsky, “You touched me right here, man.”
Besides lecturing, Yourofsky’s activism has included civil disobedience, direct action (13 arrests), op-ed writing and protesting. He plans to continue educating as many meat-eaters as possible, which he finds the most effective method of curtailing cruelty to animals.
It’s great that many people are becoming aware of animal suffering and making a compassionate lifestyle change by embracing veganism, but from the animals’ point of view, change is not happening fast enough, Yourofsky said.
“Animal rights activists shouldn’t be ecstatic because Ellen is vegan, Ronnen appeared on Oprah and Foer was on Larry King Live. Ultra minor victories like that can lead to complacency. And that’s the last thing animals need from us. I expect a vegan world in 100-200 years, or a world void of humans, animals and flora. The earth cannot survive forever with parasitic-carnivorous humans,” he said.