BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — Animal rights group PETA is scouring the United States for the “sexiest vegan” in America and has found two finalists right here in the Bay Area.
KPIX 5 spoke to one of the Bay Area residents in the running on Wednesday.READ MORE: Storm Systems Building In Pacific; Potent Atmospheric River Bearing Down On Bay Area
Two years ago, the Berkeley Animal Rights Center opened to extend the fight for civil rights and social justice to more than just people.
“We definitely see Berkeley as the forefront — the frontlines, kind of — of the animal rights movement,” said Lewis Bernier, a volunteer at the center.
From here, vegan organizers plan protests, community outreach and even late-night raids on factory-farm operations to collect images of what they believe is animal cruelty.
The activism can lead to some pretty heavy experiences and the activists are dead serious about it.
So to lighten the mood a bit, PETA recently announced a contest to find the nation’s “Sexiest Vegan Next Door.”
“And I thought, ‘What the heck! I’ll just sign up.’ And somehow was selected as a finalist. So here I am!” laughed “Sexiest Vegan” finalist Wilson Wong.
Wong is a product engineer for Carbon, a Silicon Valley 3-D printer manufacturer. Born in Malaysia amid a culture he says uses dogs for food, Wilson became vegan seven years ago.READ MORE: SF Marina District Residents Fed Up With Brazen Crime Spree Hire Private Security
Now he encourages others to give up meat completely. He even shares an apartment with a Chinese rescue dog that had been raised to be eaten.
“The way we care about dogs and the way we love dogs should really be no different to the way we see chickens, cows, pigs and fish,” explained Wong.
His activism is what convinced PETA to name him one of the 10 finalists. Others in the running include two cops and two firefighters.
And while it may seem like a David vs. Goliath contest, organizers say a compassionate heart is the “secret ingredient to sexiness.”
Wong said winning would give him a platform to advocate for the day when people stop using animals for food.
“And I think that is not at all an unrealizable dream. That will happen one day. And in my lifetime, too. While I’m still sexy,” said Wong with a laugh.
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Another Bay Area competitor hopes to win the female category of the contest. Sherilynn Macale of San Francisco is competing among nine other women to be crowned the “Sexiest Vegan.”