Miami Teen Wins peta2’s 2014 ‘Cutest Vegan Alive’ Contest

16-Year-Old Animal Rights Club President's Commitment to Kindness Wins Big

For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2014

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Miami – Miami resident Jorge Cowan, 16, has beaten out nine other male finalists to become the male winner of the Cutest Vegan Alive contest sponsored by peta2, PETA’s youth division. Visitors flocked to peta2.com to help the group decide who it should choose as a winner.

“Jorge’s commitment to helping animals—whether it’s sharing a vegan meal with friends or volunteering at an animal shelter—makes him a winner,” says peta2 Director Marta Holmberg. “peta2 is proud to recognize all the young people who are protecting animals, the environment, and their health by going vegan.”

Cowan credits peta2’s hard-hitting video exposés of the meat industry, including “Meet Your Meat” and “Glass Walls,” with influencing him to go vegan a year and a half ago. “I went vegan because, after years of claiming to be an animal lover and an activist against cruelty, I realized that by having that burger for lunch or that chicken for dinner, I was helping someone profit off the suffering and dismemberment of innocent beings,” he says.

Now, Cowan is a dedicated peta2 Street Teamer and the president of his school’s animal rights club. He helped get a veggie burger added to the cafeteria menu, and it has proved to be hugely popular. A talented artist, he’s currently creating an animal rights–themed performance-art piece. In his spare time, he volunteers at a local animal shelter. “I try to make being vegan and being a peta2 Street Teamer part of my everyday life and routine,” Cowan says. “An issue can’t be solved with silence!”

Parents will be happy to learn about the many health benefits of going vegan: Vegans slash their risk of developing heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes. Vegan meals are also “greener,” as raising animals for food is a leading cause of water pollution, land degradation, and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Cowan will hold the Cutest Vegan Alive title for a year, alongside the female winner, Lauren Boushey of Bellingham, Wash.

Winners were selected based on several factors, including vote count. For more information or to view photos of and read more about the finalists, 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