Local student among finalists in ‘Cutest Vegetarian’ contest

What does 17-year-old Cutler Bay resident Chris Villalta have in common with Heroes cutie Milo Ventimiglia? Ventimiglia was a winner of PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive” contest, and Villalta is one of the male finalists in the spinoff “Cutest Vegetarian Alive” contest sponsored by peta2, PETA’s youth division.

Villalta beat out more than 3,000 contestants from across the U.S. Supporters can vote for their hometown favorite by visiting peta2.com. Two winners (one male and one female) will be announced on June 8, and each will win a professional photo shoot and star in a peta2 ad. “More and more Americans are going vegetarian every day, and young people are leading the charge,” said peta2 director Dan Shannon. “It’s no wonder. Vegetarians are slimmer, trimmer and healthier on average than meat-eaters, so they’re bound to be a lot cuter too!”

A high school junior, Villalta went vegetarian three years ago after learning about the routine abuse of animals on factory farms. He’s an active member of peta2’s Street Team, and he recently took part in a PETA protest against the confinement of Lolita, an orca at the Miami Seaquarium.

Almost always involved in animal rights campaigns at school, Villalta negotiated with several of his teachers to be allowed to post fliers and put up posters in his classrooms.

When he refused to take part in classroom frog dissection, Villalta consulted the resources available at peta2.com, and the teacher eventually allowed him to complete an alternative assignment. Villalta’s summer plans include volunteering at a local shelter that rescues exotic animals. Villalta loves Thai food and the ocean, and he aspires to be an actor.

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