Former Hunter Could Be PETA’s ‘Sexiest Vegan Next Door’

Karate Black Belt Says Plant-Based Grub Keeps His Blood Pressure Down and His Energy Up

For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2016

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Chico, Calif. – It’s time for PETA to name this year’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door—and 24-year-old Chico resident Ryker Cook might just take home the title. He beat out scores of other entrants from across the U.S. to become one of 10 male contestants to advance to the final round. Visitors to PETA.org can now help PETA select the two lucky winners—one man and one woman—who will each receive a free vacation for two to Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of Humane Travel.

“Nothing gets hearts racing like someone who’s healthy, fit, energetic, and passionate about helping others, and that description fits vegans to a T,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “All the sexy vegans in PETA’s contest are already winners because they’re saving animals one delicious plant-based meal at a time.”

Ryker has been vegan for four years—a decision he made after he went hunting with his grandfather and realized that he didn’t want to shoot a deer—and says that making the switch has resulted in dramatic health improvements: “I have packed on 30 pounds of lean muscle, have more energy, and feel more positive, and my blood pressure has decreased.”

The California native currently works at a local hospital as a technologist’s assistant with plans to become a nurse. He holds a black belt in karate and enjoys skiing, biking, golfing, and “veganizing” dishes like pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese.

Ryker is the guardian of two rescued dogs and advocates for animals whenever he can. While on a beach in Maui, he saw a turtle trying to lay eggs surrounded by people snapping photos. When they wouldn’t leave the mom-to-be alone, Ryker called wildlife-protection agents so she could start her family in peace.

Voting for the finalists to help PETA determine whom it should select as the winners ends at 12 noon EDT on June 7. PETA will select the winners based on several factors, including vote count. See the full contest details here. Winners will be notified and announced by June 14.

For more information and to cast your vote, please click here.

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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