Gymnast, Football Player Score Big in PETA’s 2019 ‘Cutest Vegan Kid Contest’

11- and 10-Year-Old Are Living Proof of the Power of Eating Vegan

For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2019

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – They’re still years away from competing in the Olympics or playing in the NFL, but two athletes have risen to the top of PETA Kids’ 2019 Cutest Vegan Kid Contest. This year’s winner is 11-year-old elite-level acrobatic gymnast Eshiana Coleman of San Jose, California, and the runner-up is Leo Dorsey, a 10-year-old football player from Atlanta.

Eshiana and Leo went vegan after learning how the meat, egg, and dairy industries hurt animals. They both eagerly encourage friends, teammates, classmates, and family members to try vegan meals every chance they get. Leo says that being a vegan football player gives him a huge advantage, as it makes him light on his feet, and Eshiana has spoken about her plant-powered athletic performance to audiences at vegan (or vegetarian) festivals in California. When she grows up, she wants to be an author and animal rights activist, and Leo wants to play in the NFL one day or be the CEO of a computer-programming company.

“Eshiana and Leo scored big in PETA Kids’ Cutest Vegan Kid Contest for proving that people of all ages can make the world a better place for animals,” says PETA Senior Director Marta Holmberg. “Whether they’re demonstrating how athletes can thrive on vegan meals or encouraging friends and family members to make kind choices, Eshiana and Leo set a shining example of compassion for everyone to follow.”

PETA Kids—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat,” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—selected the winners 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