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Brandeis in the running for top vegan-friendly school, PETA2 polling students

Published: October 15, 2010
Section: News


Brandeis is on the shortlist to be named the Most Vegan-Friendly College Campus by a competition run by a group known as PETA2, the student wing of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the nationally recognized animal rights group.

“The competition looks at both the quantity and quality of vegan-friendly options offered on college campuses, and will name the overall best large and small school in the U.S. and Canada,” Ryan Huling, the group’s assistant manager for college campaigns, said.

Brandeis is competing in the small school category as it has fewer than 10,000 undergraduates.

First place will be awarded by a combination of student votes, available at PETA2’s website, and analysis of offerings made by the group on other factors including actual menu options.

“We’re going to look very closely at the votes, but ultimately we’re going to take a comprehensive look,” Huling said, adding that he knows “students feel very strongly that they have the most vegan-friendly campus.”

PETA2 was founded eight years ago and promotes the parent group’s definitions of animal rights at high schools and colleges. The group is active on Facebook, Twitter and maintains a popular blog, according to Huling. While PETA and PETA2 do not officially sanction affiliate chapters, student groups can log on to get sent materials supporting ethical behavior concerning animals, be they pamphlets, stickers or policy guides, and receive guidance on vegan food or bringing guest speakers to their campuses.

The organizations campaign for animals to be accorded rights of liberty and especially safety from human use, according to the main website, “on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories and in the entertainment industry,” and holds that killing, consumption and caging of animals is immoral.

“Animals do have rights: they have the same ability to feel pain and suffer” as human beings, Huling said. “Animals are not ours to eat.”

PETA applauds the furthering of these goals with or without the same moral belief in others, and Huling admitted how useful other objectives have been in advancing their cause among college students.

“We are helped by the fact that sustainability and green living has been all the rage on college campuses,” he said, citing the potential for economic efficiency in some animal-rights initiatives and the fact that the United Nations has declared the production of animal food products to be a leading cause of human contributions to greenhouse gases.

Huling said that PETA2 would make the moral argument even without an economic or safety-based concern, but welcomes “anything that lessens the suffering of animals.”

“There is a growing understanding on college campuses and among students: they are more concerned by the fact that animals do have these rights,” Huling said.