Tampa Professor Is a Finalist in PETA’s ‘Sexiest Vegan Over 50’ Contest

Muay Thai Fighter Battles It Out to Take Home Top Honors From PETA—and a Free Luxury Cruise

For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Tampa, Fla. – PETA Prime is preparing to crown this year’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50—and Tampa resident Heike Scharm is vying for the title. She beat out entrants from across the country to advance to the final round of six contestants. Visitors to PETA Prime’s Facebook page can now help the group select the lucky winners (one man and one woman), who will each receive a 10-day luxury Caribbean cruise, courtesy of Holistic Holiday at Sea.

At 51 years old, Scharm is a force to be reckoned with—she loves rocking out to heavy metal and practicing Muay Thai, a physical combat sport. Out of the ring, she’s an associate professor at the University of South Florida—and it was her research that convinced her that the only way not to support animal suffering was to go vegan. She felt many of the health benefits almost immediately, and she uses her profession as a platform to inform others about the ethical and ecological implications of eating animals.

“Whether in the classroom or the Muay Thai ring, Professor Heike Scharm is a living example of how to lead a healthier, more ethical life,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Each of the finalists in PETA Prime’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest is a testament to how sexy vegans of all ages are, inside and out.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that in addition to saving more than 100 animals every year from daily suffering and a terrifying death, people who go vegan are less prone to suffering from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity and are, on average, fitter and trimmer than meat-eaters.

Voting for the finalists to help PETA Prime determine whom it should select as the winners ends on September 27. PETA Prime will choose the winners based on several factors, including vote count. See the full contest details here. Winners will be notified and announced on October 4.

For more information, please visit Prime.PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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