For those of you who’ve been familiar with peta2 for a while, you likely remember our Star Street Teamer awards. Well, we’re bringing the award back with 17-year-old Kayla Gaspard from Oakdale, California (that’s Kayla to the right modeling her tee with her bunny Boo Boo). Why Kayla? Not only is she selling her own “I’d rather go bare than wear hare” tee design on Cafepress, she’s also using 100% of the profits from the sales to purchase dissection alternatives for her school district. Awesome, right? Check out what Kayla has to say in my Q&A with her below, then see how you can win a tee of your own (though, of course, please be sure to support Kayla’s efforts here).
Tell me about your project.
By selling shirts and other items offered by CafePress with graphic artwork I designed myself, I am raising money to purchase alternative dissection software for all the science departments in my school district. 100% of the profits made from the sales of the items will go directly towards purchasing the software programs. After struggling to find alternative lab resources for myself to morally abstain from the feline dissection in my anatomy class, I decided to leave the school district with the resources that they needed to provide future students wishing to use humane alternatives all the materials they would need. I am also applying for the DOSOMETHING awards and using my fundraiser as the project to apply for the award.
You found a great way to combine two issues that are important to you—fur and dissection. Why are you so passionate about these two issues?
I have always loved animals of every kind. Three years ago, I adopted a Netherland Dwarf bunny from a family whose children were no longer interested in keeping him. He is the sweetest, cuddliest little ball of fluff and completely docile. It sickens me to think that anyone would want to torture and kill an animal for fur or for scientific purposes. I am planning on attending college in the fall of this year and will be pursuing a PHD in genetics and cell biology. I could not walk across the stage on High School graduation day and accept a diploma that I would have earned by cutting up an innocent kitty. I would never be able to look at that milestone with any sense of pride if I did not defend and stand up for my convictions.
Do you have a favorite vegetarian dish?
Wow, where do I start! I love food! My favorite vegetarian dish is a Thai dessert called Kow Neuw Mamuang, or in English, Mango with sticky rice. It sounds plain, but the jasmine rice is soaked in coconut milk and is the perfect end to any meal. My favorite veg dinner is the “chick’n” nuggets recipe in the vegetarian starter kit. YUM! I make a vegetarian buffalo wing sauce to go with it and recommend them to any new vegetarians who may be struggling to find filling meal choices that don’t include animals.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play with my bunny Boo Boo, draw, paint, and play guitar. I also love to snowboard in the winter and wakeboard in the summer time. I especially loved stumbling upon a peta2 Street Team member that approached me at the Van’s Warped Tour in San Francisco in 2008 who asked me if I would like to help end the torture of pigs in slaughterhouses and of course I said I would! I am proud to see PETA at those type of events and hope to get to be involved with organizing and working at booths while I am in college.
What is your advice to other students like you who don’t want to dissect, but don’t know what to do?
Just do what I did, get educated on the topic. I went to the internet and came straight to PETA. I posted my dilemma on a message board and immediately got replies with great information. PETA provided links to websites, as well as respectful responses to objections from reluctant teachers. I recommend being honest and respectful when requesting an alternative. Not all states treat students’ rights equally. I am lucky to live in a state that requires teachers to respect my moral objections. The biggest obstacle I faced with my teacher was earning her respect, because so many students during her 20 years of teaching had abused the right to morally abstain from the labs because they were lazy, not because they were against animal dissection.
Well said, Kayla!
For your chance to win one of three “I’d rather go bare than wear hare” tees, comment below with why you think every science classroom should have dissection alternatives available to students. Entries must be received by March 13th. The three most persuasive comments will be chosen and winners will be notified by March 20th.
Also by commenting, you are agreeing to the following terms and conditions.