The Animal Welfare Collective aims to bring animal rights to the concrete jungle of NYU. The club mainly focuses on farm animal rights, and hosts events such as tabling at different campus locations to shed light on animal rights issues.
Steinhardt sophomore Rindala AlAjaji is the Animal Welfare Collective’s vice president, and she said that the club’s fundamental goal is to make NYU more animal friendly.
“So every semester, we have a [goal], and we focus on events to reach that goal,” AlAjaji said. “Our goal this semester is to make Lipton Dining Hall go totally vegan. ”
She said that this issue is important to her not only because of the animal rights’ connection with various social issues, but also because animal agriculture accounts for over 40 percent of the reason for climate change and greenhouse gases — more than the transportation industry combined.
Gallatin senior Eve Wetlaufer said that this issue connects with so many others due to the four prongs of animal rights: ethics, environment, health and intersectionality. She said that this year especially focuses on intersectional issues connected with feminism, racism and workers rights.
“Oftentimes the violence and subjectification and objectification of animals is very, very tied to the same sort of brutalization of black bodies,” Wetlaufer said. “There are so many amazing intersections that it’s kind of mind-boggling.”
She said that to enact change within this flawed system, the Animal Welfare Club engages in many community events throughout the year. It recently partnered with NYU’s Cheese Club to showcase vegan cheeses and emphasize that cheese not derived from an animal’s body can also be tasty. And in addition to spreading awareness of cruelty-free eating, the club also has more traditional activist efforts, such as making leaflets and calling citizens to advocate for animal-friendly legislation.
“We’ll do phone banking parties,” Wetlaufer said. “We’re doing one next Thursday to call people in Massachusetts to vote yes on three to ban crustacean crates.”
She said that the club is really for anybody who loves animals and that anyone is welcome to join regardless of his or her food choices.
“You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian if you care about animals,” Wetlaufer said. “We’re a community of people that’s super passionate for animals but also for human animals. We really love everyone and we encourage everybody to come and join our community.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 24 print edition. Email Natasha Roy at [email protected]