For the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards—one of the world’s most acclaimed competitive showcases for advertising, digital communication, and design students—students from around the world were challenged to use their empathy and creativity to challenge speciesism, a belief in human supremacy that leads to disrespect of other animals as well as violence against them and resulting suffering.
As a sponsor of this year’s competition, PETA is highlighting some of the most imaginative projects that encourage everyone to leave animals off their plates and out of their closets.
Here’s a look at student submissions from around the globe that blew our socks off!
All Pain Sounds the Same: Our Instincts Don’t Discriminate
All Pain Sounds the Same is a reminder that our fellow animals have a voice—we just need to listen. This video, created by Emily “Emula” Aldin, a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, highlights humans’ instinct to empathize with all sentient beings and challenges us to act on this inclination by never supporting industries that exploit or kill other animals.
Every Baby Has a Mother: A Heartrending Reminder Never to Buy Exotic Skins
Every Baby Has a Mother, created by Brigham Young University’s (BYU) AdLab, is a stop-motion short that focuses on the bond between a mother snake and her baby. The sweet bond they share is cut short by the exotic-skins industry.
This tragic tale is a reminder never to buy bags, belts, or shoes made from the skins of reptiles, who are living, feeling beings. A PETA Asia investigation revealed that in the exotic-skins industry in Vietnam, workers killed snakes by inflating them with compressed air, forcing them to endure excruciating deaths.
As this film highlights, snakes are individuals with families and interests of their own—not accessories.
Love Is Human Shows How Other Animals Love
Also created by BYU’s AdLab, Love Is Human portrays the sweet relationship between two lovesick pigeons. This short film reveals that our fellow animals experience romance and share lifelong bonds—just as humans often do. Pigeons deserve our respect and to live free from human cruelty, just like all other animals.
Lil’ Luxury Lucy: A Dark Satire on the Fashion Industry’s Cruelty
Lil’ Luxury Lucy is a spoof advertising video for a doll, which takes a dark turn when it reveals how kids dress up the “Lil’ Luxury Lucy” doll—by ripping the skin off cows and tearing wool from the skin of sheep.
This dark satire created by BYU’s AdLab exposes the cruelty behind animal-derived clothing. In the wool industry, for example, workers hastily shear gentle, defenseless sheep with sharp tools, often leaving the animals with painful, bloody wounds.
‘Everyone Has a Mom’ Honors Mothers of All Species
“Everyone Has a Mom” is an ad campaign created by University of Oregon students Himali Glor, Parker Ruiz, and Logan Robertson showing that the close bond between mothers and their babies exists across all species and describing the lengths mothers will go to when protecting or grieving for their children.
In the dairy industry, baby calves are torn away from their mothers within a day of their birth, leaving mothers to cry out for their babies for days. In laboratories around the country, newborn monkeys are taken from their mothers and locked into cold metal cages, where they often spend the rest of their lives biting at their own limbs and pacing back and forth.
As “Everyone Has a Mom” shows us, we must respect the bond that all mothers share with their young.
Animals Anonymous Focuses on Victims of the Fashion Industry
Animals Anonymous is a powerful video made by Andrew Grechko and MJ Park from the Fashion Institute of Technology that creatively defends birds who are plucked alive for their down—just to stuff a jacket. While the video appears to be an advertisement for a winter jacket, it contains a twist, as the narrator exposes who really pays the price for animal-derived materials.
No Escape Urges Viewers to Empathize With Animals Confined in Miserable Conditions
Created by Kayla Matthews, Kiki Farrar, and Owen Drawbaugh from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, No Escape portrays the familiar nightmare of being stuck in a claustrophobia-inducing elevator ride with no escape and calls on viewers to empathize with the billions of animals on farms as well as in roadside zoos, breeding facilities, and laboratories who are forced to live in cramped, filthy, miserable conditions for their entire lives.
‘Let’s Switch Places’ Reminds Everyone That Flesh Isn’t Food
“Let’s Switch Places” is a provocative photo series that shows human body parts packaged and sold as meat, reminding consumers that all animals—including humans—are made of flesh, blood, and bone and that when you eat meat, you’re eating a corpse. Created by Youser Kassim from the University of Central Oklahoma College of Fine Arts and Design, this shocking campaign urges everyone to think twice about what—or who rather—is on their plate.
‘Progress?’ Challenges Consumers to Dress With Compassion
In a culture that apparently values “progress”—from electric cars to artificial intelligence—where is the progress for our fellow animals? Created by Jeff Deng of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, this ad campaign points out that while humans benefit from the comforts of modern technology, the fashion industry is still stuck in the past, sentencing billions of living, feeling animals to suffer and die each year so that their skin, fur, and feathers can be used for clothes and accessories.
‘Fortnitemare’ Draws Attention to the Plight of Animals Exploited for Entertainment
“Fortnitemare” is the name of a video game concept in which Fortnite players would be “trapped” during the game, creating a viral moment to call attention to neglected wild animals suffering in miserable conditions. Created by Gabriel Santos and João Victor Eustachio from CUCA—School of Creative in São Paulo, this campaign challenges us to think of how roadside zoos, marine parks, and other seedy facilities that exploit animals for entertainment are hell for animals.
Help Fight Against Speciesism
From humans to hens, all animals are made of flesh and blood, feel pain and fear, desire freedom, love their offspring, have unique personalities, and value their own lives. We encourage everyone to use their talents to fight speciesism, just as these creative students have done. We should value all animals for who they are as individuals, not for the ways they can be exploited.