Youth at Farm Sanctuary event

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Advocacy

Youth Action for Farm Animals

Youth at Farm Sanctuary event

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

You Can Make a Difference

Visitor with Claire Goat at Farm Sanctuary

Photo: Aaron Rosapepe

Farm Sanctuary’s Youth Action for Animals resources are designed to empower middle and high school students to create change for farm animals. There are many ways to help farm animals and we provide a range of different actions you can take. One of the quickest and most effective things you can do to help animals on factory farms is to reduce or eliminate your consumption of animal products. And by encouraging others to eat more plant-based foods as well, you can make a huge difference in the lives of farm animals.

Sheep standing in field
For Farm Animals
Farm animals have unique personalities, experience a complete range of emotions, and feel pain, just like human beings. Cows, chickens, pigs, and other farm animals are very intelligent and not much different than our cats or dogs at home.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

We Can Do Better

Pigs on a factory farm / Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Sadly, 99% of animals raised for food in the U.S. spend their short lives on large industrial farms. These places are less like farms and more like factories. Most animals on factory farms barely have space to move, and some animals aren’t able to turn around for most of their lives. Unfortunately, more than 9 billion farm animals are used for meat, dairy, and eggs every year in the U.S. alone. And in this industry, it’s not only the animals who suffer. Slaughterhouse and factory-farm workers are also often exploited and have no other choice but to do this psychologically and physically dangerous work. Industrialized animal agriculture is a leading contributor to global warming and wreaks havoc on the environment, from deforestation to the pollution of groundwater and air quality in rural communities across the U.S. As consumers, we have a choice to no longer support this industry and to lessen its negative consequences for animals, our planet, and public health.

Pigs on a factory farm / Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Start Here

Vertical explainer photo 1 - Photo: iStock.com / nata_vkusidey

Photo: nata_vkusidey/iStock.com

A great way to reduce your support of animal agriculture is by choosing to eat fewer animal products. Any small step counts! Whether it’s not eating meat for just one day of the week or going vegan, any change in your diet can create change for animals.

Eating plant-based, also referred to as vegan, is a way of eating that doesn’t include any animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Eating vegan offers multiple health benefits and it is also delicious!

Learn More
Photo: iStock.com / nata_vkusidey

Photo: nata_vkusidey/iStock.com

A great way to reduce your support of animal agriculture is by choosing to eat fewer animal products. Any small step counts! Whether it’s not eating meat for just one day of the week or going vegan, any change in your diet can create change for animals.

Eating plant-based, also referred to as vegan, is a way of eating that doesn’t include any animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Eating vegan offers multiple health benefits and it is also delicious!

Learn More
Students eating in a cafeteria

Photo: SDI Productions/iStock.com

Whether it’s starting a club and inviting local activists to speak to your class or encouraging plant-based meal options in your cafeteria, there are many ways to raise awareness about farm animal issues in your school.

Learn More
Family With Teenage Children Eating Breakfast In Kitchen / Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

Photo: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock.com

Talking to and engaging with friends and family members about farm animal issues is a great way to raise awareness.

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Two people look at a cell phone / Photo Credit: GaudiLab, Shutterstock

Photo: GaudiLab/shutterstock.com

Whether signing petitions and writing letters to ban cruelties on farms or using your social following to tell stories and share information, you can make a big difference for farm animals.

Learn More
Books / Photo Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

Photo: Billion Photos/shutterstock.com

There are so many great movies, books, websites, and other resources out there to keep people informed and up-to-date about farm animal issues. Check out this list of some of our favorites.

Learn More

Youth Leadership Council

Genesis Butler speaking at a Farm Sanctuary event.

For middle and high school students who are interested in farm animal advocacy, Farm Sanctuary’s Youth Leadership Council provides a sense of community and the chance to connect with like-minded student peers from across the country. Through the Youth Leadership Council, we offer tools and resources to support school- and community-based advocacy projects aligned with each student’s personal interest and the opportunity for experienced student activists to play a mentorship role, as well as new student activists to seek guidance as mentees. Established in 2017, the Youth Leadership Council is comprised of over 50 student activists from across the U.S.

Join the YLC

Meet a Few of Our YLC Members

Youth Leadership Council Member Claire

Claire

Youth Leadership Council Member Owen

Owen

Youth Leadership Council Member Rose

Rose

Youth Leadership Council Member Sienna

Sienna

Youth Leadership Council Member Avalon

Avalon Jade

Youth Leadership Council Member Haile / Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

Haile

YLC Members Answer Your Questions About Being Vegan

by Debi, 8th grade, San Jose, CA

There are many other ways to get protein besides meat. Beans, seeds, grains, and nuts are excellent sources of plant-based protein. In fact, all plant-based foods provide protein!

Registered Dietician Ginny Messina states, “Eating a varied diet of plant foods will easily provide plenty of protein as long as you’re meeting calorie needs. It’s important to make sure that you include legumes (which include beans, soyfoods, and peanuts) in your vegan diet to ensure adequate intake of all of the essential amino acids.” Take it from the USDA, which agrees that “protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant-based foods.”

by Lauren, 12th grade, Pittsburgh, PA

It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the staples of a vegan diet (fruits, vegetables, grains like bread and pasta, beans, spices, and tofu) are relatively inexpensive. If you want to buy meat or dairy substitutes, it may get a bit more expensive; however, these products will only get cheaper as more people choose plant-based options and demand increases, and you definitely can make delicious vegan food with simple ingredients! Don’t believe us? Check out these Plant-Based on a Budget meal plans!

by Olivia, 6th grade, Roswell, GA

If you’re eating out, you can sometimes find vegan options at familiar restaurants by taking a closer look at their menu, asking the server, or making substitutions to menu items. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have non-dairy options. All you have to do is order with coconut, almond, or soy milk. You can also go to some fast food restaurants! At Chipotle, they have a lot of plant-based options that you can choose from. At Burger King, you can get a salad, hash browns, French toast sticks, and Dutch apple pie! At Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s, you can order their hash browns and their salad. If you stop at Taco Bell, consider ordering the bean burrito “fresco style,” the black bean burrito without cheese, the veggie cantina power bowl without the sauce, and the cinnamon twists. Dairy Queen offers a vegan Star Kiss bar. If you go to Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s, or Pizza Hut and order without the cheese but include your favorite vegetable toppings, you’re good to go! All of their pizza crust and sauces are vegan. White Castle also has a vegan burger!

For more tips on ordering plant-based while dining out, visit V-lish.com. Don’t forget to download the app at HappyCow to find restaurants with vegan options near you!

by Abby, 12th grade, Colorado Springs, CO

Plant based diets are “stalk” full of nutrients (pun intended)! Getting nutrients as a vegan can be a piece of cake … I mean kale, as long as you know what to look for! Big questions while maintaining a vegan diet tend to be: protein, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Although the more well-known sources of these nutrients do tend to be in products coming from animals, all of them can be obtained without causing harm to animals. Some nutrient sources can even be higher in the necessary nutrients than their animal-derived counterparts. Protein, for instance, can be found in dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale; beans; nuts; seeds; legumes; and whole grains. Leafy greens, while high in protein, are also full of calcium and iron. Other sources high in calcium are sesame seeds, almonds, and calcium-fortified products such as non-dairy milk and yogurt. Iron-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, quinoa, legumes, and leafy greens. Vitamin D can be obtained through sun exposure and consuming portobello, maitake, morel, button, and shiitake mushrooms. Many non-dairy milks and tofu can also be fortified with vitamin D. Sources of B12 are fortified products such as certain milk alternatives, cereals, soy products, nutritional yeast, and B12 supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, Brussels sprouts, soy, and walnuts.

by Avalon Jade, 12th grade, Tampa, FL

There are a number of different ways that you can transition to a plant-based diet. In fact, you probably already eat more vegetarian or vegan food than you even realize. We know that fruits, veggies, and nuts are free of animal ingredients, but what else? How do you eat your favorite snacks or meals in a plant-based way? And how do you do that affordably and without hassle? Read on!

When you need a snack, fruit and nuts are go-to options, but other options such as granola bars, crackers, chips, and pretzels can can also be found without animal ingredients at your local store. You just have to read the label. Switching from one brand to another, or even from one product to another under the same brand, can mean more plant-based foods in your diet! What are some specific items? Nature Valley Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola Bars, Larabars, and most Clif Bar flavors are vegan. However, sometimes you just want snack foods, like Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Ritz Crackers.

Do you like sweet foods and desserts? You will be happy to know that there are options! Some sandwich-style cookies, like Oreos and Nutter Butters, are vegan. Unfrosted Pop-Tarts, too! Feel more in the mood for baking? Many of Duncan Hines’ creamy homestyle frosting and cake mixes are vegan. There are many other everyday vegan foods here. Prefer a more homemade approach to your baking? Replacements can be very easy, such as using a mixture of 1 tablespoon of flaxseed and 2 ½ teaspoons of water for an egg. Other substitutions can be found here.

Many supermarkets carry a selection of packaged, plant-based foods that provide yummy alternatives to your favorite meat and dairy products. For milk, there are a variety of options, including hemp, soy, and almond. Feeling sweet? So Delicious, Häagen-Dazs, and Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice creams taste great and are vegan, too! Can’t live without cheese? Daiya or Chao Cheese to the rescue! They even melt, which makes for a very exciting grilled cheese sandwich! Worried you’ll miss your chicken, beef, and fish? Depending on your local grocer, you may be able to find vegan burgers, fish fillets, chicken strips, meatloaf, and much, much more, through brands such as Beyond Meat, Boca Foods, Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, Engine 2 Plant Strong, Field Roast, Gardein, and MorningStar. Check out V-lish.com for more info! Many people can’t actually tell the difference between these options and animal meats, because they are so realistic! There are also tofu, tempeh, and seitan, all wonderful meat alternatives.

by Sienna, 7th grade, Easton, PA

A vegan diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes has been clinically proven to provide an array of health benefits. Research shows that whole food veganism can help prevent and even reverse conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while also protecting against certain cancers. Adopting a whole food, plant-based diet can be a positive change for your body’s health!

by Lorelei, 12th grade, Westlake Village, CA

Most grocery stores carry a selection of packaged plant-based foods such as veggie burgers and dairy-free milks. You will be able to find plant-based staples at most stores such as rice, pasta, bread, beans, as well as fruits and vegetables (canned, frozen, or fresh), which can make really delicious plant-based meals. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or small natural-foods store, they will have a large number of vegan food options. You may also be able to find community gardens in your area with a farm stand or a local farmers market selling fruits and vegetables.

Here are some of my top vegan food picks at my favorite store, Trader Joe’s: I like to shop at Trader Joe’s because they have a lot of vegan items and they are inexpensive. They have many prepared items that are refrigerated and shelf stable, as well as frozen items. Some of the items I like to get are the spicy lentil wrap, super spinach salad, chicken-less strips (frozen), penne arrabbiata (frozen), beefless ground “beef” or soy chorizo (to use in tacos), hummus, dried apricots, and Joe Joe’s (cookies).

by Sienna, 7th grade, Easton, PA

What do you picture when you think of dairy farms? Maybe you think of cows grazing over green pastures or chickens roaming around a bright red barn with a white fence. This is what the dairy industry wants us to imagine. The truth is much, much darker. Dairy cows are only meant to supply milk for their offspring. We humans are the only species to consume milk from another species — and it’s odd when you give it more than a moment of thought! On dairy farms, however, cows are artificially inseminated and constantly forced to have babies. Once the calves are born, they are taken away from their mothers immediately. Chickens — who, as we know, lay eggs — are arguably the most abused farm animal. Male chickens are killed immediately because they can’t produce eggs. Female chickens spend their entire lives in battery cages, cages that are so small, chickens can’t even stretch their wings. Thankfully, there are alternatives for dairy products and ways to replace eggs without contributing to these harmful industries.

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