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October 7, 2009

Gordon College in Mass Hosts Myriad, All Creatures Tour

The HSUS's Christine Gutleben reports from The Myriad bus on the coast-to-coast All Creatures tour

The Humane Society of the United States

by Christine Gutleben

On Saturday afternoon we visited Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. This non-denominational Christian college of about 1,600 students is surrounded by beautiful fall-colored trees and a large pond, which sits on the edge of campus, directly outside the main hall where we held our events. 

Gordon was the fourth stop on our cross-country All Creatures music tour which began in Washington, D.C., last week and will wrap up in California at the end of October.  

Upon arrival at Gordon, the campus radio station interviewed the band for a podcast. 

Asked about the music industry's growing involvement in social causes and their commitment to The Humane Society of the United States, the band's guitarist, Steven Tracy, said it is the responsibility of anyone with a platform to promote what is right, and that factory farming and other forms of animal abuse is an important issue for this generation.

"Now that I've seen the horrors of factory farming, I have to act."

Shortly after the interview, we screened Eating Mercifully to more than 40 students in attendance and the entire band and crew. Following the 26-minute film, I led a panel discussion with along with Steven, Kate Kirby, President of Advocates for a Sustainable Future, and senior, Shlomy Goldman, founder of Students for Compassionate Living. 

Students asked questions and nodded in agreement as Goldman declared that the issue of animal cruelty belongs within the realm of moral, ethical concerns. 

The Gordon College Campus Events Council, lead by senior Caitlin Snyder, attended to every detail of the event. They even had dinner waiting for us in the “Green Room.” We ate in the moments between the panel and the 2.5 hours it takes to set up the show. I was so grateful for Gordon’s superb hospitality. If you're not a veteran of life on the road like my musician companions, the long hours traveling from city to city can really take its toll, and we're just getting started.

Many of the students gathered around our booth and spoke with HSUS staffer Stephanie Clark and intern Kerry Bannon about our new Humane Campus program.

At 9 o'clock the show kicked off to an enthusiastic crowd. The Myriad positively rocked the room: The crowd sang along to the songs and took pictures with their phones. Many stood on top of chairs and tables for a better view. And each band member shared a personal story about his commitment to fight animal cruelty.

Drummer Randy Miller, who is battling stage-4 bone cancer, got up from behind the drums, walked to the center microphone, and shared how moved he was by the film screening earlier that day: “Now that I know what is going on, now that I’ve seen the horrors of factory farming, I have to act.  God has put the choice before me, and it’s my responsibility to do what is right.”  Next stop: New York City.
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