Tia Blanco: proud to be a vegan | Photo: Swatch

More athletes than ever are sticking up for animals by going vegan, speaking out against cruelty, and more.

And peta2, PETA's youth division, is recognizing these bold forces for animal rights in its 12th Annual Libby Awards.

"Libby" is short for "liberation," as in animal liberation. This year's winners include Kyrie Irving, who nabbed the title of Most Animal-Friendly Baller, thanks to his headline-grabbing commitment to vegan eating.

"I feel absolutely amazing," he told reporters. "My energy, my sleeping patterns, just my intellect and everything that I'm awake to now - I'm very much aware. It makes me feel amazing, and I love it."

He's far from the only vegan athlete among peta2's nominees and winners.

Pro surfer Tia Blanco earned the Most Animal-Friendly Athlete award after starring in a peta2 pro-vegan campaign and sharing in multiple interviews why she's so passionate about being vegan. 

"I love animals too much to contribute to suffering. From an environmental [standpoint], animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction," said Blanco.

"Today's hottest athletes are proving that peak performance can come from protein-packed vegan meals," says peta2 Senior Director Marta Holmberg.

"peta2 is recognizing Kyrie Irving and Tia Blanco for inspiring people around the world to give cruelty-free eating a try."

peta2, whose motto is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or abuse in any other way" also awarded Libbys to Noah and Miley Cyrus, blink-182, and Emma Kenney, among others.

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