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Victory for Animals and Free Speech!

Most colleges won’t give you any trouble at all if you ask to table or distribute literature, but if they do, don’t worry, ’cause we’ve got your back. The situation of college student and peta2 Leadership Program member Eliana Campos is a case in point. She attends Seminole Community College near Orlando, Fla., and when she asked college administrators if she could table and distribute peta2 literature on campus, they flat-out denied her permission.

Eliana, die-hard animal advocate that she is, was not deterred. She gathered support from a number of professors and contacted her friends at peta2 and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Through correspondence with the school and FIRE’s news release and action alert, the school agreed to respect Eliana’s civil liberties and allow her to table and distribute peta2 literature.

When asked how she felt about the victory, Eliana exclaimed, “I’m very excited and I think that this is great! I’m glad that I will finally be able to tell everyone in my area about abuses in slaughterhouses and factory farms. That is all I wanted to do.” The best part is that all the controversy over her school’s censorship has caused quite a buzz in her community around animal rights—which Eliana plans to capitalize on by tabling and leafleting like crazy!

Eliana knows the power of free speech. It changed her life only four months ago. As she told us, “I had to write a college paper on animal experimentation, and I went to the PETA Web site and started looking around. I found one video on the site and watched it for about a minute and I automatically became vegan. I just accidentally went there, but it really opened my eyes to how animals are exploited for food.”

Eliana knows that if people could see how chickens have their beaks cut off and live in cages so small that they can’t even stretch one wing; how pregnant pigs are kept in stalls so cramped that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably; and how many animals are hung upside-down to have their throats slit or their bodies dunked into tanks of scalding hot water while they are still conscious and able to feel pain, they’d become vegetarians, too.

Most colleges want to see their students active and engaged in discussions about ethics and current events, but what if you are one of the unfortunate few activists who goes to a school that is trying to censor your ability to help animals? Eliana offers you this advice: “Contact peta2 and FIRE. Keep it civil. Be professional, patient, and persistent. You will win in the end, because you are in the right.”

We couldn’t agree with her more.

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