Students who visited the “creepy fun house” on campus yesterday expecting to enter a typical Halloween haunted house may have been startled to find something a little different inside.
Peta2, a youth program of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ youth program, brought the “creepy fun house” to campus to educate students about the origins of their food and to promote cruelty-free products, said Ryan Huling, associate director of youth outreach for peta2.
“It draws attention to the absurd cruelty we inflict on animals for food, clothing, experimentation and other industries,” Huling said. “We are trying to get people to think about their choices a little more.”
Spooky music played from the funhouse tent, which displayed graphic images of commercial slaughterhouses and factory farms, while a peta2 representative sporting a chicken costume encouraged students to enter.
Displays included a cage that students could step into and experience the confines of factory farming; photos depicting the practices of commercial slaughterhouses; and a coat with doll appendages sewn into it, a piece that peta2’s College Campaign Coordinator Kenneth Montville said was meant to “put into perspective how we treat animals.”
“It can take dozens of rabbits to make a fur coat,” Montville said. “This is the 21st century. We can either make choices to be cruel or kind. We really want people to open their hearts and eyes to how they treat animals.”
Caroline Sanchez, peta2’s campus representative and president of Cease Animal Torture, an on-campus animal rights organization, said she hopes that the tent shows people “absurdities” in the way animals are treated.
“We’re trying to get people to realize how absurd some of the uses are,” Sanchez said. “[The tent] is trying to get people in that mindframe, that it is weird.”
Huling said yesterday was the first time the “creepy fun house” had come to a college campus and that its reception would likely lead to its being displayed on other campuses.
“[The exhibit] spent the entire summer on Warped Tour, so it travels to concerts and festivals,” he said. “We never brought it to a college campus. Cal State long Beach is the first campus. Based on the success here, we are looking into displaying it at other schools.”
Some students said they thought peta2’s display was effective in spreading awareness.
“It really grossed me out and made me feel bad,” undeclared freshman Kendall Kaller said. “It definitely makes you think more about things and not want to eat meat. It made me lose my appetite.”
Freshman biology major Flor Torres said the display might lead to a change in his eating habits.
“It’s very shocking,” Torres said. “The picture with the man in the cage was especially interesting. I would probably consider making a change in my diet.”
Huling, who is a vegan, said he eats a diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, pasta and rice dishes. He said that becoming vegan or vegetarian can be a slow, gradual process.
“As you start to find more vegan and vegetarian options, it becomes easier and easier to reduce how much meat and animal products you are taking in,” Huling said. “Even here on campus, I just went over to the Beach Hut and they have delicious vegan wraps, veggie burritos and other options alongside the meat, and it was the same price.”
Photo Editor Todd Johnson contributed to this story.