Jacksonville Boy Crowned PETA’s 2017 ‘Cutest Vegan Kid’

6-Year-Old Is on a Mission to Save Orcas, Elephants, Turtles, and More

For Immediate Release:
March 23, 2017

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Jacksonville, Fla. – He may be only 6 years old, but Jacksonville resident Khendall Lester is already an experienced advocate for animals: He has protested circuses and amusement parks that use and abuse animals, encouraged compassion for wildlife, and more. Now, he’s been chosen as the male winner of PETA Kids’ 2017 Cutest Vegan Kids contest, beating out contestants from across the country for the honors, which come with a trophy, an animal-friendly prize pack, and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

“Khendall’s constant efforts to promote compassion for animals have earned him PETA Kids’ Cutest Vegan Kid title,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “Whether he’s encouraging families to stay away from SeaWorld or picking up trash to protect animals’ ocean homes, he sets an example of kindness for people of all ages to follow.”

Khendall, who went vegan more than a year ago, says, “I don’t want to hurt animals. I can eat yummy vegan food without harming animals.” At SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium, where orcas are displayed in tiny concrete tanks, he can often be spotted protesting in his pint-size orca costume. He has also spoken out against bear hunting in Florida and protested outside Ringling Bros. and UniverSoul circuses—and every time he visits the beach, he picks up trash so that it won’t harm any animals. “All animals’ lives matter,” he says, “even the little ones.”

PETA Kids—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—selected the winners based on several factors, including vote count. For more information, please visit PETAKids.com.

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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