By Brianna Hernandez
With an estimated 12 percent of millennials switching over to vegan and vegetarian diets, society’s view of animals and the way we treat them are changing.
PETA2 aims to educate college-level students on how to live cruelty-free lifestyles while reducing their carbon footprint.
“For most students, college is the first time when they’re out on their own, making their own conscious decisions about what they choose to support,” said Kenneth Montville, manager of education outreach for PETA2, the youth outreach division.
Every year, PETA2 travels across college campuses nationwide campaigning for animal welfare through showcasing educational exhibits.
This year’s exhibit, “The Arc of Justice,” demonstrates a timeline of the animal rights movement; starting from the 1600s with Rene Descarte’s theory that animals are emotionless and do not feel pain, to present-day advances in food with the creation of meat substitutes.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, 51 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, even more than all emissions caused by transportation”a fact that some may find difficult to believe because of the elusiveness of the meat industry.
“The sad truth is that these multimillion dollar [meat production] companies do a really great job at hiding the horrible way that they treat and kill the animals that they sell for food,” said Aliana Turqel, the PETA2 tour administrator.
If there’s one thing about millennials that stands out from other generations, it’s that they are extremely conscious of social justice, allowing it to heavily influence their purchases.
One way to show their support of what a company stands for, and their ethical or unethical practices, is through buying their products often.
“Our dollar is our vote. When we pay companies who participate in really inhumane, unsustainable practices, they’re going to continue doing them,” said Turqel.
The ethical treatment of animals does not stop at meat production; part of PETA and PETA2’s stance advocates for human rights as well.
Montville emphasized that saving animals also helps the oppressed groups of people who end up in slaughterhouses working for low wages.
The risk of meat factory work injures are high, as repetitive motor functions are required to do the labor”seldom providing insurance or medical treatment for undocumented workers.
As the young generation of our country, it is without doubt part of our social responsibility to do what we can to make the environment sustainable for generations to come”and it starts with making decisions that are both “self-serving and selfless,” said Montville.
Though cutting out meat and dairy from one’s diet, as well as purchasing cruelty-free clothing and products may seem like a daunting task, rest assured that there are small steps one can take to living a more cruelty-free lifestyle.
Some simple ways include limiting meat consumption to a few times a week and choosing not to purchase leather, fur and products tested on animals.
“The great thing about this movement is that you can make a difference just by what you choose to consume every day. By sitting down and eating a meal that doesn’t have animal products in it”no meat, dairy, eggs”that is the simplest way to contribute,” said Turqel.
If each person were to make one small step toward a more ethical diet and lifestyle, there’s no telling how much happier our bodies and the environment would be. The cows, chickens, pigs and fish would probably be a bit giddy, too.
Paula Fuentes / The Poly Post
“The Arc of Justice” demonstrates a timeline of the animal rights movement.
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