Written by Michelle Kretzer
For many young people, college is a time
when they are making their first independent decisions about what they will eat
three times a day and, on a broader scale, what issues are important to them.
The decisions that they are making now will shape the rest of their lives and,
in fact, the course of the future of our country as they become our leaders. We
talked to Ryan Huling, manager of college campaigns and outreach for peta2, about the impact that college
students across the country are having on the animal rights movement.
What have college students done to make campuses
more cruelty-free?The number of vegetarian college students has risen by more than
50 percent since 2005, and the number of vegans has more than doubled, so it's
no surprise that the demand for meatless options on campuses is high. And as a
result of students' growing objections to dissection, more colleges are
creating formal and informal policies that allow students to opt out of dissection and be provided with
peta2 says that young people are leading
the charge for animal rights. How so?Young people, and college students in
particular, have been an integral part of every social-justice movement in
recent history, and animal rights is no exception. peta2's Liberation exhibit that we present on college
campuses juxtaposes the abuse that humans have inflicted on each other
throughout history (such as child labor, slavery, and the denial of basic
rights) with the abuse that we currently inflict on animals. Students
are highly motivated to correct this injustice as well.
The peta2 Street Team (our youth activist
network) has more than 70,000 active members who are signing petitions, making
phone calls to companies that abuse animals, running student groups, and
educating their friends about animal rights every day. Many who have
visited a youth-focused concert, such as Warped Tour, lately will attest to
the fact that every show attendee either is vegetarian or has friends who are.
The idea of boycotting animal products has become mainstream in youth culture,
and today’s young people will influence future generations.
For more exciting news on the college-outreach campaign, see peta2's
just-released list of 2011's Top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly Colleges.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.