LO­CAL VE­GAN HOT­TIE

Stanthorpe Border Post - - FRONT PAGE -

IT WASN’T just Levi Bur­ton’s looks and charm that se­cured him a fi­nal­ist spot in the na­tion-wide search for Aus­tralia’s Hottest Ve­gan, it was also his work in an­i­mal ac­tivism.

The 27-year-old Stan­thorpe man was one of four male fi­nal­ists short­listed in the PETA (Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals) com­pe­ti­tion. He was pipped at the fin­ish­ing line by New­cas­tle-based semi-pro­fes­sional rugby player Kelly Ben­son, but Levi said it was a fun ex­pe­ri­ence none­the­less.

Aside from liv­ing on a plant-based diet with­out con­sum­ing meat, dairy or other an­i­mal prod­ucts, Levi proved to PETA his ded­i­ca­tion to an­i­mal ac­tivism when he or­gan­ised view­ing of an an­i­mal-rights doc­u­men­tary and his work at his all-ve­gan cof­fee van.

“The doc­u­men­tary is all Aus­tralian footage show­ing the cur­rent legalities in slaugh­ter­houses, and the RSPCA ap­proved prac­tices, and ev­ery­thing that goes on that we can’t re­ally get footage of oth­er­wise,” he said. “I showed the doc­u­men­tary in (Stan­thorpe) to raise money for a lo­cal farm an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary who take on an­i­mals that get too big for pet­ting zoos, or if farm­ers can’t af­ford to feed their cows due to the drought.”

A ve­gan of three years, Levi, who re­cently moved to Her­vey Bay, ad­mit­ted it was a stark con­trast to his old diet when he ate up to a kilo of meat and con­sumed more than a litre of dairy a day.

“I just had an epiphany three years ago. I re­alised I was con­tribut­ing to fi­nanc­ing the big­gest harm and abuse of an­i­mals on the planet. When I first be­came ve­gan I copped it. Be­cause it does have that stigma around it.”

The self-de­scribed cof­fee con­nois­seur said he found it hyp­o­crit­i­cal to say he loved an­i­mals when he was eat­ing them.

“It was a bit of hypocrisy in my own head. “When I started look­ing at it through the an­i­mals’ eyes, the vic­tims’ eyes, the de­ci­sion was re­ally easy.”

He said ve­g­an­ism was catch­ing on, es­pe­cially in smaller ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“In smaller towns you don’t re­ally no­tice the ve­gan move­ment. But it’s there.”

PHOTO: JOR­DAN PHILP

CLOSE CON­TEST: Stan­thorpe bloke Levi Bur­ton was a fi­nal­ist in Aus­tralia’s Hottest Ve­gan 2018 con­test.

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