Animal rights group to pay students to watch “scariest movie ever”

Alex Pelham

During Halloween season, demons, ghosts and witchcraft haunt movie-watchers everywhere, but Students Against Cruelty to Animals are bringing a real-life horror to the screen — animal abuse.

Students Against Cruelty to Animals will show what they call “the scariest movie ever” at 6 p.m. in SAC 2.412 on Wednesday. The group chose not to reveal the film’s title or what it’s about, but a Facebook page promoting the event warns that it’ll contain “unsettling and unpleasant things.” As an incentive, the group is offering to pay attendees $5 to get the message across but can only guarantee cash for the first 200 people who show up. Attendees can choose to instead donate the money to a local animal shelter. Free vegan ice cream will also be served to all attendees.

Jacek Prus, SACA co-president and philosophy senior, said the event’s purpose is to impact students in a way a simple speech could not. He said actually showing examples of animal mistreatment is more powerful than hearing about it.

“There’s one thing about talking about something or someone’s condition,” Prus said. “There’s another thing about witnessing that condition.”

This isn’t the first time SACA has offered money to students in exchange for hearing their views. Last year, the group paid students $1 to watch a four-minute clip. They also held successful protests that led to campus dining halls adopting “meatless Mondays,” when students have the option to purchase vegetarian meals.

Prus said the group wants people to think about how animals are cruelly treated on a daily basis, being used as food, science, clothing and entertainment.

“When you bring awareness, you bring change or at least the possibility of it,” Prus said. “It’s a conversation that’s pushed under the rug. Maybe 100 or 200 years from now, people will look at the way we used to treat animals, and they’ll be honestly appalled.”

Yesenia Ramirez, SACA media relations coordinator and nutrition junior, said she thinks people will be more conscious about animal rights after viewing the film.

“We all know beef comes from a cow, but we don’t really think about how it gets to our plate,” Ramirez said. “Once people see that, it’ll be harder to make that decision. We just want people to make a connection to the decisions they’re making every day.”

SACA member and English junior Danielle Gonzalez hopes the film will help students see what’s actually happening to animals and spark passion into a controversial topic.

“I think we talk about it, but we don’t actually feel about it,” Gonzalez said. “We don’t feel compassion or sentiment that the animals are actually suffering. It’s even joked about. This [event] takes away any sort of humor or denial. You can’t deny it when you actually see
what’s happening.”

While the goal of the event is to help students rethink how they view animals, Gonzalez said the group doesn’t look to force students to change.

“Hopefully it combats the apathy we encounter,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if anyone is going to change their lifestyle, and that’s not even the goal. It’s to raise awareness to the cruelty inflicted on animals. Even if 50 to 100 people get that little shock they need to start thinking about animals as more than objects, that does a ton."