‘Can you love animals and eat them too?’: Student organization uses satire to promote vegan lifestyles

Ren Leija, General News Reporter

CW: This article contains sensitive topics about animal cruelty.

Hosted by the UT Austin chapter of Allied Scholars for Animal Protection, Save Week!, which started last week, is an event dedicated to spreading awareness about the relationship between animals, the environment and people.

Allied Scholars is a non-profit organization that “educates, trains and mobilizes student advocates in the field of animal protection,” according to its website. Each day of the event was dedicated to a discussion on the issue of animal rights and vegan lifestyles, using satire to draw student attention. 

Faraz Harsini, CEO of Allied Scholars for Animal Protection, said he created the organization to support animal rights.

“I didn’t know anything about how animals were exploited for meat, eggs and dairy,” Harsini said. “When I learned about it, … I realized it’s really bad for health and the environment. There is nothing more impactful we can do with our lives than to advocate for a vegan world.” 

Harsini joined members in the week-long event to advertise Elwood’s Organic Dog Meat and HuMILK on Speedway as a way to garner attention from passer byers, only for them to find out the products were complete satire. 

Molly Elwood, CEO and founder of Elwood’s Dog Meat Farm, said she created Elwood’s as an animal rights activist web page, using dog breeds as a ruse to help people recognize their cognitive dissonance when it comes to eating animals. While not directly involved with ASAP’s Save-Week, she said she stands by veganism and the end of animal exploitation.

“[People] don’t want the things that happen to farm animals to happen to dogs, and it’s much easier to argue,” Elwood said.

Harsini said he uses Elwood’s Dog Meat Farm to make a point of why it is “not okay” to eat dogs but “okay and normal” to eat other animals.

“The way that we are connected to dogs makes us more compassionate towards them, but that doesn’t change that pigs, cows [and] chickens can all suffer,” Harsini said.

Natalie Fulton, YouTuber and animal rights activist, said she came to the University to assist the organization with advertising a vegan lifestyle and to have meaningful conversations with students.

“I want (students) to understand that all the feelings they have against eating dog meat, we feel that for all animals,” Fulton said.

Fulton said she’s grateful for the Austin culture shift in favor of veganism, with restaurants’ growing vegan options and people changing their food choices.

“We have the power now to change the future for billions of animals, and I think it’s amazing,” Fulton said.