8-Year-Old Eugene Boy Is Finalist in PETA’s ‘Cutest Vegan Kids’ Contest

Multi-Sport Athlete Is a Walking Advertisement for Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2017

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Eugene, Ore. – Eight-year-old Eugene resident Ocean Ayres has been named one of the top four male finalists in PETA Kids’ 2017 Cutest Vegan Kids contest—and now, it’s up to voters to help PETA Kids decide if he’ll take home the top prize. Two winners—one boy and one girl—will each receive a trophy, an animal-friendly prize pack, and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

A vegan since birth, Ocean believes that the best way to help animals is not to eat or wear them—and to urge others to do the same. He once got so excited when he overheard a woman at a restaurant telling the server that she was vegan that he went over and introduced himself. “Being a vegan is being a leader in doing the right thing,” he says. “A kid might see me living as a vegan and think, ‘He is healthy and treats animals nice—maybe I should give it a try, too!’ Then they will become vegan.”

Ocean’s mother describes him as an energetic and enthusiastic “thrill seeker” who participates in multiple sports, including karate, jujitsu, soccer, and BMX. When asked how he thought being a vegan might help him in his active lifestyle, he said, “Well, it makes me faster! Eating healthier and taking good care of my body makes me better at everything I do.”

His mom and brother are also vegan, and the three of them often hand out animal rights leaflets and participate in demonstrations, including protesting outside a local shopping mall against killing animals for their fur.

“Ocean Ayres’ passion for helping animals is an inspiration to young people everywhere,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “All of PETA Kids’ finalists prove that even the littlest person can make a big difference for animals.”

PETA Kids—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that every year, more people are drawn to the benefits of vegan meals, including better health and a smaller carbon footprint. In addition, each vegan saves the lives of more than 100 animals each year.

Voting on the finalists to help PETA Kids decide whom it should choose as the winners runs until March 17, with the two winners announced on March 20. The decision will be based on several factors, including vote count. See the full contest details here and the main contest page at PETAKids.com/CutestVegan.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind