BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 31 Dec '18

Outspoken vegan F1 champion races to the top of the animal charity’s list of worthy candidates

For proving how powerful eating vegan can be – and encouraging people around the world to save the planet by ditching meat, dairy products and other animal-derived foods – newly crowned five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has yet another title to add to his list of stellar accomplishments: PETA’s 2018 Person of the Year.

‘Lewis Hamilton has proved to be not only a fantastic driver but also a force for good and a powerful ally of animals used for food’, says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk. ‘PETA is honouring him for inspiring his legions of fans to follow his lead, jump-start their own energy levels, and spare animals’ lives by going vegan.’

Lewis Hamilton on veganism

Hamilton, who often speaks about his vegan diet to the international media, has been open about his motivation for making the switch: ‘[T]he pollution [from greenhouse-gas emissions] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible’, he says. ‘The cruelty is horrible and I don’t necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.’

The F1 champion also regularly shares animal rights messages and photos of protein-packed vegan meals with his 8.3 million followers on Instagram, where his official bio reads, ‘[Plant] Based Diet. Love Animals.’ His social media posts are also packed with pleas for compassionate eating, such as ‘Please find it in your heart to not support this horrific cruelty and go plant-based!’

200 animals saved per vegan per year

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to eat’ – notes that animal agriculture accounts for an estimated 14-18% of global greenhouse-gas emissions and that the United Nations has concluded that a global shift towards vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

Each person who goes vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 animals a year and reduces his or her risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer.

Past PETA Person of the Year award recipients include Ricky Gervais, Brian May and the late Sir Roger Moore.