Palisades Charter High School senior and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Tideline journalism class Eliana Feinstein is coordinating the submission of a series of pieces the Palisadian-Post is publishing from the school’s periodical. A version of this piece originally appeared in Tideline.
By SERENA BROOME | Contributing Writer
Prior to the 2019-20 school year, Palisades Charter High School did not have an animal rights club. To fill that void, sophomore Cleo Waxman-Lee created one.
The Animal Rights Activists club seeks to educate the local community, contact government officials, and organize events and protests. Members also fundraise and volunteer for animal welfare organizations.
“We’ve gained a lot more members this year and had a lot of success,” Waxman-Lee shared enthusiastically. As president of the club, she said she hopes to spread awareness and encourage more activists to join their movement.
The group is focusing on three animal rights issues this year: factory farming, animal testing and the fur trade.
According to Humane Society of the United States, factory farming is when animals, such as cows, pigs and chickens, are kept in feedlots, and endure conditions such as mutilation and the overuse of antibiotics.
Animal testing not only harms the animals subject to experimentation, according to HSUS, but it is also ineffective, since they report that studies on animals cannot accurately predict the effects of drugs on humans. HSUS also stated that in the fur trade, animals such as foxes and minks are bred and killed in fur farms.
The club is spreading awareness to the Pali community about these issues. Members recently produced a video about animal testing, which they plan to post on the educational platform Schoology.
According to Waxman-Lee, the video will inform people how to become more conscious consumers. For example, she said, students are encouraged to research brands to ensure that they’re purchasing sustainable and cruelty-free products.
The club’s Instagram account, @paliaraclub, also features informational posts about animal rights issues. Recent posts provide information about factory farming, petition campaigns and future club activities.
“Raising awareness about factory farming has been our most recent club project,” according to a post on the Instagram account, which includes eight slides of information.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, club leaders are organizing a virtual conference for animal rights activists. They plan to contact animal rights clubs across Southern California.
According to Waxman-Lee, the goal of the conference is to “invite animal rights activists to speak at our conference and gain familiarity with other animal rights clubs to make connections for future activism projects.” Youth activists from many different schools will then mobilize to fight for animal rights together.
To burgeoning animal rights activists, Waxman-Lee offered this motivational advice: “Be persistent. You’re going to face a lot of obstacles, so it’s really important to remember what you’re fighting for and the fact that you are a voice for animals who don’t have one. It’s really easy to become disheartened because there’s so many injustices going on in the world with animals. Nevertheless, stay hopeful.”
Students can learn more about these issues by joining the Animal Rights Activists club, which meets every Thursday from 12 to 12:30 p.m., as well as by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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