8-Year-Old Gilbert Girl Is Finalist In PETA’s ‘Cutest Vegan Kids’ Contest

Pint-Size Protester Has Participated in Dozens of Demonstrations, Spoken Before City Council

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2017

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

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

Rhyan went vegan about a year ago, when she found out where pork comes from. Since then, she’s persuaded her mom, dad, and grandmother to go vegan as well. She says, “I think animals should deserve a life—because they’re living beings, just like us, and they have families, just like us.”

An active and vocal advocate for animals, Rhyan frequently shares information about animals on social media and has participated in dozens of protests against puppy mills, circuses, aquariums, hunting, dolphin slaughter, and more. Last year, she presented a speech that she wrote to the Charlotte, North Carolina, city council, urging the city to ban circuses that force wild animals to perform. “Please think about how you would feel if you were abused and hurt every day and ripped away from your home and family,” she said.

Never one to miss an opportunity to help animals, Rhyan also asked guests for charitable donations instead of presents for her birthday and was able to raise $570 for an animal sanctuary.

“Rhyan Antonowicz advocates for animals every chance she gets, from holding protest signs to fundraising for animal charities,” 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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“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