20-Year-Old Texas Native’s Commitment to Kindness Wins Big
For Immediate Release:
July 1, 2013
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382
Fort Wainwright, Alaska — It’s a new kind of commendation for 20-year-old infantry soldier Alexander Contreras: The Texas native stationed at Fort Wainwright has beaten out a field of nine other male finalists to become the male winner of the Cutest Vegan Alive contest sponsored by peta2, PETA’s youth division. Because of the growing population of young vegans, this was the first year that the eight-year-old contest was open to vegans only instead of all vegetarians. Visitors flocked to peta2.com to help the group decide who it should choose as a winner.
“Alexander’s commitment to protecting and serving—that is, protecting animals by serving delicious vegan meals to his fellow soldiers—makes him stand out among the country’s cutest vegans,” says peta2 Director Marta Holmberg. “peta2 is proud to recognize all the young people who are taking steps to help animals, the environment, and their health by going vegan.”
Alexander credits the films Earthlings and Finding Nemo with influencing him to go vegetarian and, a month later, vegan. Now, he enjoys cooking vegan dinners for his “battle buddies”—a few of whom are considering following in his veggie-fuelled footsteps—and creating paintings and YouTube videos that call attention to animal rights issues.
While his primary motivation for going vegan was concern for the billions of animals who are slaughtered every year for food, others are attracted by the health benefits: Vegans are less prone to heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes than meat-eaters are. Vegan meals are also “greener,” as raising animals for food is a leading cause of water pollution, land degradation, and greenhouse-gas emissions.
Alexander will hold the title for a year. He and the female winner—16-year-old Georgia student Chloe Hull—will each receive a professional photo shoot and star in a peta2 ad.
Winners were selected based on several factors, including vote count. For more information, please visit peta2.com.