Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sarah Lawrence Student Wins PETA Award for Tireless Efforts to Defend Animals

Nineteen-Year-Old Helps 'Veganize' Campus With Tips From peta2

Sarah Lawrence College sophomore Shakira Croce has won a College Activist Award from peta2—the world's largest youth animal rights organization—for her unrelenting and successful efforts to make vegan food widely available on campus. Croce is also being recognized for her work focusing attention on the downside of animal testing and the upside of adopting companion animals from shelters.

Visit any of Sarah Lawrence's three dining halls and the first thing you'll notice is the abundance of delicious vegetarian and vegan options, including the entirely meatless menu at the Health Food Bar. Students Promoting Awareness of Animal Rights—an organization that Croce started at her Gainesville, Ga., high school—has worked with the Sarah Lawrence administration and foodservice staff to increase the number and variety of vegan meals and make them more visible to students. Croce knows a thing or two about vegetarian food: She kicked the meat habit when she was 12 after learning about the cruelty of factory farming on PETA's Web site.

Croce is very proud of Sarah Lawrence for being one of the first colleges in the nation to adopt a written policy stipulating that students be provided with alternatives to dissection.

Furthermore, when she noticed that the college was buying cleaning supplies that were cruelly tested on animals, she and her group persuaded the school to switch to cruelty-free products.
In her "spare" time, you'll find Croce passing out PETA leaflets and other literature both on campus and in the local community. She has also invited PETA and peta2 staff members to the campus to speak on a variety of animal rights issues, including the benefits of going vegetarian, the problems with wearing fur and leather, and the cat and dog overpopulation crisis.

"Being an activist for the animals has been one of the most rewarding activities in my life," says Croce. "There was a time when I wasn't aware of the abuses of animals killed for food, but when I found out, I wanted to do something about it. Now, I want to help others learn how they can help stop animal suffering too."

For more information, please visit peta2.com or click here.

Iraq War Vet Wins peta2's 'Cutest Vegetarian Alive' Contest

Vermont Man Beats Out More Than 1,500 Contenders Worldwide

After more than 13,000 votes were tallied, 22-year-old Jed Martin, a Hinesburg native who spent a year in Iraq with the U.S. Army, has been chosen from among 10 male finalists—and more than 1,500 nominees—as the winner of the second annual "Cutest Vegetarian Alive" contest. The contest was organized by peta2, the world's largest youth animal rights organization. Martin's photo and bio are available online at peta2.com.

Martin became a vegetarian after playing in bands in the punk and metal music scenes, where animal rights is a popular issue. Currently living in a military barracks in Germany, Martin is unfazed by being surrounded by meat-eaters. He keeps his fridge stocked with vegan Boca Burgers, which taste so much like the "real" thing that even his buddies who haven't kicked the meat habit can't tell the difference! When he's not in uniform, you can spot Martin wearing one of his peta2 T-shirts around the base in order to promote awareness of animal rights. He says that no matter where he's sent, companies like Vegan Essentials make it possible for him to enjoy his favorite foods while serving in the Army.

The "Cutest Vegetarian Alive" contest is a spin-off of peta2's wildly popular "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" contest, in which visitors to the group's Web site vote for their favorite vegetarian celebrities. Last year's winners were actor Natalie Portman and Good Charlotte star Benji Madden. Also featured on peta2.com are celebrity interviews, message boards, merchandise, downloadable voice-mail recordings, and chances to win great prizes like free concert tickets, iPods, and more.

"More and more young people are choosing a meat-free lifestyle. Martin is living proof that on average, vegetarians are slimmer, trimmer, and generally healthier than meat-eaters, so they're bound to be a lot cuter too," says peta2 Street Team coordinator Pulin Modi. "And of course, nothing's more attractive than a compassionate heart."

For more information, please visit peta2.com or click here.