We’re always excited to hear about, and share, stories of young people who stood up for animals—not only does it assure us that the next generation is even more compassionate, but it’s also proof that you can never be too young to take a stand for what you believe in.

Dorothy Monza, a 13-year-old student at Laguna Middle School in San Luis Obispo, CA, recently spoke out against the use of mousetraps for a project in her science class. The assignment was to build a car powered by a mousetrap, and rather than promote the use of the cruel device, Monza decided to instead write a paper about how unnecessary traps are—both for her project and in general.

I asked Monza a few questions about speaking up for animals, how her friends reacted to her decision, and her favorite parts of having a cruelty-free diet. Here’s what she had to say:

You wrote an essay rather than constructing a mousetrap. Can you explain why you feel mousetraps are cruel?

I think mousetraps are cruel because I would never want to die by one, I think it’s awful to subject animals to that, even if you find them to be a “pest,” especially since there are humane options.

How did your friends and classmates react to you standing up for your beliefs and fighting for an alternative to this project?

My friends were very supportive; they joked and said if anyone would do this it would be me. As for my classmates, I’m pretty sure they thought I was joking at first, but on mousetrap car racing day, I faced a lot of questions.

I’ve heard that you’ve been veg since the age of 4. How did you reach this decision and what are your favorite aspects of having a meat-free diet?

When my older sister, who I completely idolized, read Charlotte’s Web and decided to be a vegetarian, I followed in her footsteps. My favorite part of a vegetarian lifestyle is eating a delicious meal and knowing that no innocent animals had to die for it.

Are there any other animal rights issues you’re really passionate about?

I am also really passionate about getting rid of fur. To me, just the thought of wearing another animal’s skin is repulsive. I hope that one day we can get rid of it all together, but many protesters are already making great strides.

Sometimes it can be hard to stand up for what you believe in, especially when your friends and classmates don’t understand the issue. However, take a note from Monza and remember that animals do not have the ability to speak out, so they need us to do it for them. And remember: We’re always here to help you! 🙂


P.S. Psst! If you haven’t already, you should join peta2. It’s FREE, and a great way to help animals and get free stuff!