Des Plaines 11-Year-Old Crowned PETA’s Cutest Vegan Kid of 2020

Plant-Powered Champion Wrestler Is Ready to Go to the Mat for Animals

For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Des Plaines, Ill. – Girls wrestling state champion Amelia Nidelea-Polanin can now add a national title to her name: The 11-year-old Des Plaines resident has just been chosen as the winner of PETA Kids’ 2020 Cutest Vegan Kid Contest, earning a special prize pack filled with goodies, including a personalized trophy.

Amelia and her older brother went vegan seven years ago after learning that the chicken that people eat comes from smart, sensitive birds. Since then, she and her mother have protested Canada Goose’s fur-and-feather coats, circuses that force animals to perform, and slaughterhouses. Amelia even gave a speech at last year’s Animal Rights March in Chicago, saying, “I don’t want to live in a world where I have to look into my suffering friends’ eyes and tell them, ‘I can’t save you. I love you. Forgive me. I will keep trying.’ … I want to live in a world where I can open the last truck and save them all. I want to live in a world with sanctuaries, not slaughterhouses!”

“Amelia nabbed PETA Kids’ Cutest Vegan Kid title for showing that you’re never too young to start speaking up for animals,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “She is determined to lead her generation toward a more compassionate future, and her passion sets an example for people of all ages.”

Amelia is known for out-wrestling both girls and boys during practices, and when parents and teammates ask how she’s so strong, she’s quick to say that it’s because she’s vegan—and she always has leaflets about going vegan ready to give away. Her favorite animal is the gorilla, because they’re vegan and strong—just like her!

PETA Kids—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group selected the winner and runner-up based on several factors, including vote count.

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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