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PETA's tips on living a cruelty-free lifestyle whilst at uni

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With campuses across the country filled with students once again, PETA are on hand to offer up their advice on how you can make your time at university ethical.

1.      Eat the animal-friendly way

Many of your favourite snacks are already vegan! Many different brands and flavours of crisps, rice cakes, hummus and pitta bread and most kinds of dark chocolates will help get you through those late-night study sessions.

For those lazy Saturday morning breakfasts in halls, try the following delicious treats:

  • Porridge: We love oats cooked with soya milk on the stovetop or hob. Add in some flax or coconut oil at the end of cooking for richness and lots of chopped dates and apricots for sweetness.
  • Breakfast burrito: Wrap refried beans, guacamole and leftover stir-fry veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla for an easy and filling breakfast.
  • Vegan pancakes: Simply replace each egg with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons of water and substitute soya milk with a bit of cider vinegar for the buttermilk.
  • Banana boats: Split each banana lengthwise and spread each half generously with peanut butter. Top with raisins, drizzle on agave nectar and dust with cinnamon.
If your hall is served by a cafeteria, ask which offerings are vegan. If the cafeteria doesn't offer anything vegan, suggest that it get with the times and start offering vegan options – a cafeteria is there to help you get the nutrition that you need to feed your overworked brain cells. If you dare to venture outside, why not try some of the winners of this year's PETA's Vegan Food Awards. You can find a list of those that took home the prize here.

2.      Keep rooms cruelty-free by looking out for animal-derived products.

Keep an eye out for products derived from animal suffering! Banishing these products will be good for your well-being, too, as many of them are laced with harmful chemicals. Fortunately, plant-based alternatives exist for all the following:

  • Beeswax, which is found in candles and polishing products, is produced by bees for their own use, and the harvesting process results in the deaths of millions of them. Natural alternatives include naturalparaffin, vegetable oils and fats as well as ceresin, also called "earth wax".
  • Down, which is used as an insulator in quilts, parkas, sleeping bags and pillows, is taken from either slaughtered or "live-plucked" geese. In addition to synthetic substitutes, alternatives include kapok (silky fibres from the seeds of some tropical trees) and milkweed seed pods.
  • Fur, which is sometimes used for decoration, upholstery and accessories, is obtained from animals – usually minks, foxes or rabbits – who were cruelly trapped and killed or raised in intensive confinement on fur farms. Faux fur is widely available and is usually cheaper.
  • Leather, including suede, calfskin, sheepskin and alligator skin, is used in furniture upholstery. Leather subsidises the meat industry, and the chemicals used to keep leather from biodegrading have been linked to nervous disorders, asthma, cancer and other serious illnesses. There are loads of alternatives, including cotton, canvas, nylon, vinyl, ultrasuede, pleather and faux leather.
  • Silk, which is used in upholstery and art, is the shiny fibre made by silkworms to form their cocoons and is almost always obtained by boiling the worms alive. Alternatives include milkweed seed pod fibres, nylon, silk cotton tree, rayon and other synthetics.
  • Wool, including cashmere and angora, comes from cruelly and intensively reared sheep, rabbits and goats. Wool production uses enormous amounts of resources and energy to breed, raise, feed, shear, transport and slaughter these animals. Alternatives include cotton, cotton flannel, synthetic fibres and ramie.
 

3.      Look for products that aren't tested on animals and contain no animal ingredients.

Cruelty-Free Products

Thanks to an EU ban earlier this year, cosmetics tested on animals can no longer be sold in Europe. For companies that refuse to sell animal-tested products in any market, just look for PETA US' Beauty Without Bunnies bunny logo on all your personal-care and household products or search the full listings online at PETA.org (not all approved products carry the logo). Superdrug's, Sainsbury's and The Co-operative Food's own brands are all cruelty-free, so there's no need to break the bank on specialty products.

Home Remedies

Create your own all-purpose cleaner made from a mixture of vinegar and salt, or pour some baking soda and vinegar directly onto a damp sponge. Either method will clean and deodorise all kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and both are great for students on a budget!

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