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What do you do at PETA?
I am a senior campaigner for PETA, which is the best job in the world (I’m not even exaggerating). My job is really varied, and no two days are ever the same. I do everything from handling PETA’s web presence and managing our dedicated interns to stripping for protests, dealing with media, and coordinating celebrity campaigns.
If you had to describe yourself using three words, they would be …
Outspoken, reserved (yes, you can be both at the same time), and quirky
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I am terrified of human hair (when it’s not on people’s heads). Having to pick up a hair from my bathroom floor is enough to make me gag. I won’t even talk about my shower drain.
What was your catalyst for getting involved in animal rights?
When I was 7 years old, I found a vein in my chicken nuggets at McDonald’s, never before realizing that the animals on my neighbors’ farms who fascinated me so much were the same as the ones on my plate. At that point, I began to cut meat out of my diet and went vegetarian for good at 13. Later, after learning about the animal suffering inherent in the dairy and egg industries, I went vegan.
Which animal issue is most important to you and why?
I could never pick. Animals need us to speak out against cruelty wherever and whenever it exists.
Which of your PETA moments are you most proud of?
It’s a pre-PETA moment for me, but I grew up in a small town that generated most of its income from tourism coming from a local rodeo. While other students at my high school dressed up in cowboy and cowgirl outfits on “Rodeo Day,” I walked the halls with a protest sign and explained to anyone who would listen that rodeos are nothing but animal abuse passed off as “entertainment.” I also lead protests at the event and attempted to handcuff myself to the gate of the calf-roping chute. My commitment to justice for animals did finally paid off: After years of protests, the rodeo finally dropped four of the cruelest events, including calf roping and team roping, in which animals are commonly injured or even killed. Persistence pays, people.
If you were an animal, which species would you be and why?
I could never choose. For every animal whose life has a great aspect, there is some way that humans find to torment them. Dogs—who get to sleep all day—often spend their lives on the end of a chain. Eagles—who get to soar above treetops—often are hunted or captured and confined to zoos. And with modern-day factory farming, cows never get to roam grassy pastures like they deserve.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
If the calories don’t count, soy ice cream (I could live with any flavor). If they do, a great salad.
If you could offer one piece of advice to people looking to get started in animal rights, what would it be?
Be the change. Don’t wait for others to take action. The animals need you, so take action in every and any way that you can.