Mumbai: As People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India's 2018 Cutest Vegetarian Next Door contest heats up, Ekta Sachdeva, Aditi Nanavaty, and Karan Parmar of Mumbai are in the running to take home the title.
They've beaten out hundreds of other contestants from across India to land a place among the 20 finalists.
PETA India will ultimately crown two winners – one man and one woman – and members of the public can help the group choose by voting for their favourite finalists on its website.
"On average, vegetarians are slimmer and healthier than meat-eaters are – and over their lifetime, they spare many animals the horrors of factory farms, slaughterhouses, and fishing nets," says PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate, adding, "One look at our radiant finalists confirms that there's nothing more attractive than compassion.”
"I don't wear leather, mink, or mohair or any fabric that's made from animal skin," says Sachdeva, adding, "I have been a vegetarian for over six years, and I never want to harm animals."
"I've been vegan since January 2017," says Nanavaty. "Giving up the use of silk, leather, and wool and buying cruelty-free products was easy, but giving up dairy wasn't until I watched a whole bunch of PETA videos as well as documentaries like Cowspiracy and What the Health. I started an Instagram account, @adiventurousvegan, to showcase how easy and amazing it is to be vegan in India and abroad. My aim is to show everyone that we have the power to choose consciously every single day and that every choice affects another being's life,” she further adds.
"I turned vegan after discovering the dairy industry's cruelty to animals and impact on the environment through documentaries like Earthlings, Cowspiracy, and Forks Over Knives," says Parmar. "Being vegan makes me feel fresh, healthy, energetic, and content."
In addition to causing animals to suffer on a massive scale, eating meat has been conclusively linked to an increased risk of suffering from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Also, a United Nations report concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level – from local to global.
Voting will be open to the public until 29 September, and the winners will be announced on 3 October.