the "Contestants" tabs to see all 16 finalists.
It was a hard-fought battle, but we've finally narrowed down the hundreds of entries for the 2011 Europe's Sexiest Vegetarian contest to our two winners! In addition to the title of Europe's Sexiest Vegetarian, each will receive a bundle of cruelty-free prizes from some of the UK's most ethical companies.
Hristo and Sophie Crowned Sexiest European Vegetarians!
PETA received hundreds of entries from gorgeous vegetarians and vegans across Europe for our annual Sexiest European Vegetarian contest, and we asked visitors to help us choose the ultimate winners. Thousands of you logged on to vote. The final was close, but in the end, Sophie and Hristo came out on top! As well as being crowned Sexiest European Vegetarians, each winner will receive a bundle of prizes from some of the UK's most ethical companies. Well done, Sophie and Hristo!
Sophie has been vegetarian since age 7 after being approached by an animal rights group in her local town and informed of the cruel and unimaginable ways that animals raised for food are treated. She enjoys telling people why she's a vegetarian, and it's influenced her friends and family to cut their meat intake. When she's not eating chick pea curry, she is a part-time model and homemaker who loves Marks and Spencer, the Co-Operative and Superdrug for their policies against animal testing.
Location: Colchester, Essex
Location: Razgrad, Bulgaria
Hristo is an amateur skateboarder sponsored by Virus Skateboards. A vegetarian since 2002, he says that his change of heart is all because of hardcore punk's powerful lyrics, and as a keen musician himself, Hristo uses hip-hop to spread the animal rights message under the moniker of El Freegano. He has also translated Earthlings into Bulgarian and organises screenings.
Hundreds of sizzling vegetarians and vegans sent us their photos along with their reasons for going vegetarian. The following are the top two reasons that contestants gave:
• They didn't want to support cruelty to animals.
By far the number one reason that contestants gave was that they didn't want to support mutilating animals without given them painkillers; confining them to filthy, crowded conditions; and violently slaughtering them. All of this happens to chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows every day on factory farms. Many also mentioned their disgust with the abuse of fish on parasite-ridden fish farms or the suffering caused when fish are suffocated or cut open alive on the decks of fishing boats.
• They wanted to be healthier.
Many entrants said that they were encouraged to make the switch by the fact that vegetarians have significantly lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer than meat-eaters do. Most reported a surge in energy and zest for life after going vegetarian as well as clearer skin and a trimmer tummy!
After seeing this year's crop of fabulous photos, we have just one thing to say: vegetarians are hot, hot, hot! And luckily, adopting a cruelty-free diet has never been easier. Try it by ordering our free vegetarian/vegan starter kit, and you could have a chance to be named Sexiest European Vegetarian in 2012!
A vegan for 14 years, Fleur, from France, studies art history and French literature and regularly attends demonstrations.