Animal rights charity Peta has named Lewis Hamilton as Peta’s 2018 Person of the Year “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.”
The 2018 Formula 1 world champion is a keen animal rights activist, and says he was inspired to go vegan and change his lifestyle by a documentary.
Hamilton has also been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and is up against joint-favourites Harry Kane and Geraint Thomas as he bids to win the famous prize for a second time.
The Brit regularly shares animal rights messages and vegan meals with his 8.3m followers on Instagram, where his bio reads: “Plant Based Diet. Love Animals.” Another one of his messages reads: “Please find it in your heart to not support this horrific cruelty and go plant-based.”
“[T]he pollution [from greenhouse-gas emissions] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible,” he said of his lifestyle. “The cruelty is horrible and I don’t necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.
“So far I don’t feel as if I have been missing out,” he added when he revealed his vegan diet. “Every person I have met who has gone vegan says it is the best decision they have ever made.”
Peta’s founder, Ingrid Newkirk, has praised Hamilton for using his large following to share their message.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Hamilton joins Ricky Gervais, Brian May and the late Sir Roger Moore in the list of recipients of the award.