The Vegan Campus
By Laura Perry, Photos by Dwight Eschliman
Published Jul 1, 2012 8:00 AM
Animals Are People, Too
How do others handle eating vegan on a daily basis? A few UCLA alums, including "The Big Bang Theory" actress Mayim Bialik, share their stories here.
In 2004, television personality Bob Barker donated $1 million to the UCLA School of Law to create the Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights Law. The endowment fund supports teaching, research, seminars and lectures in the emerging field of animal rights law. Said Barker when making his gift: "Animals need all the protection we can give them. We intend to introduce a growing number of law students to this area of the law in hopes that they will ultimately lead a national effort to make it illegal to brutalize and exploit these helpless creatures."
A Delicious Idea: Vegan Cuisine on Campus
Sisters Jenny Goldberg Engel and Heather Goldberg, owners of Spork Foods, are helping bring more vegan food to UCLA dining halls. Read on here.
Law Professor Taimie Bryant M.A. '78, Ph.D. '84 is an expert in the field of animal rights law and leads the efforts at the UCLA School of Law. Her focus is the legislative and other legal regulation ensuring the humane treatment of animals. She points out that while there are animal cruelty statutes in all states, there are many exemptions for common animal husbandry practices. Also, the only federal laws concern slaughter practices and the transportation of animals to slaughter, but they do not cover most food animals, and enforcement of these laws tends to be limited.
"Studying animal law prompted me to make changes to my diet," says Bryant, who is now vegan. "I have also found that in the course of teaching animal law, many of my students are completely unaware of animal cruelty in raising animals for consumption and stop eating animals as well."
It's estimated that 10 billion animals are killed by the meat industry each year, not including fish. Modern agriculture commonly keeps cows, calves, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals in overcrowded stalls, cages, crates or sheds where they are often unable to turn around or take even a single step. At the end of their lives, they are often crowded into trailers and hauled hundreds of miles where they are slaughtered without any relief from pain or fear.
Trying to change the laws is difficult, Bryant says. "Agribusiness is a very powerful lobby, and most ideas for laws don't get out of committee," she says. "Animals are seen as property or resources and owners can do what they want with resources." Voters in California, however, have shown an interest in changing the law. In 2008, 63 percent of Golden State voters supported Proposition 2—the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. The proposition prohibits the confinement of certain animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs.
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