Allankrita Sarkar, a 23-year-old LLB student of Lucknow University, beat nine other female finalists to bag the ‘PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) India’s Cutest Vegetarian Next Door’ online contest. Allankrita will feature on PETA’s website and will also receive a certificate, sash and trophy.
Vaibhav Upadhyay of Indore won in the men’s category. Winners were selected based on several factors, including vote count.
The contest was aimed at selecting youngsters who could help create awareness on issues concerning animals, urge people to go vegetarian and raise their voice against cruelty to animals.
“I feel that I won this competition as the blessings of animals are very powerful. I have a strong connection with animals and yes, my friends and relatives also voted for me. Winning this contest will hopefully help me in raising people’s awareness regarding animals. I am looking forward to helping more animals in need,” said an elated Allankrita, adding that she went vegetarian after witnessing a chicken being cut up at a butcher’s shop.
“I turned vegetarian when I was in class 6. I saw a chicken being cut at a meat shop. It was a scary sight. Its cries still echo in my ears,” she said.
Allankrita has three pets at home and is also taking care of 8-10 street dogs of her locality in Aliganj. “I prepare food for the street dogs in my colony. They come to my gate at different times of the day to eat it,” she said.
“I feed all the dogs of my locality and look after their basic first aid. I also create shelters for them during winters. People in my locality call me if they find any animal in distress,” she added.
Allankrita comes from a family where early on she was taught to be compassionate towards animals. “I carry a first aid box in my scooty. In case I find any needy animal on the road, I stop there to treat it,” said the youngster who works with the animal welfare NGO Jeev Ashraye.
Neerja Khede, PETA India campaigns coordinator said, “Whether it’s about improving your health, reducing pollution from greenhouse gases or sparing animals from suffering and terror in factory farms and slaughterhouses, going vegetarian is always a winning proposition.”
Vaibhav, the male winner of the competition, strongly opposed harming and killing animals. He believes that the beauty of nature lies in animals and plants.
A communication from PETA read: “While the consumption of animal-derived foods contributes to a person’s risk of developing cancer, heart disease, obesity and other ailments, a plant-based lifestyle can give us clearer skin, help prevent heart attacks and even reverse heart diseases”.