Gainesville Student Named Finalist in peta2’s 2014 ‘Cutest Vegan Alive’ Contest

As Dumping Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products Gains Immense Popularity Across the Country, Young People Are Leading the Charge

For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2014

Alexis Sadoti 202-483-7382

Gainesville, Fla. – Gainesville could soon be in the national spotlight. That’s because 19-year-old Casey Leopold has beaten out dozens of entrants from across the country to be named one of 10 female finalists vying for the title of 2014 Cutest Vegan Alive in the ninth annual contest sponsored by peta2—PETA’s youth division. The final pool consists of 20 finalists—the 10 finalists (five female and five male) who received the highest number of votes, plus 10 finalists (five female and five male) who were selected by peta2. The two winners—one female and one male—will win a professional photo shoot and a chance to star in their own peta2 ad.

“Casey is determined to make the world a kinder place,” says peta2 Director Marta Holmberg. “Kids who go vegan show respect for animals, the planet, and their own bodies, and that makes all of them cute in our book.”

Leopold—whose mother and grandmother are both vegetarian—went vegan shortly after visiting a farmed-animal sanctuary when she was 10 years old. Her reasoning is simple. “Animals … feel what we feel as far as emotional or physical pain, so the [cruel] testing and farming that animals are put through are completely wrong and inhumane,” she says. A student at the University of Florida, Leopold loves rabbits and cats and regularly rescues animals in peril, including turtles. For her bat mitzvah, she asked guests to make a contribution of funds or supplies to one of her favorite animal shelters. Leopold twice volunteered at the Warped Tour for peta2, and she raised more than $5,000 for a Gainesville animal shelter.

peta2 will select the two winners based on several factors, including vote count. See the full contest details here. To view photos of and read more about the finalists, please click here. For more information, please visit

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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