peta2 names Bryan "Most Animal-Friendly Athlete"

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January 18, 2012

World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan has won the peta2 Libby Award for Most Animal-Friendly Athlete. This is the sixth year that peta2, the young-adult division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has presented the Libby Awards, which recognize athletes, celebrities and musicians who embrace and advocate animal-friendly lifestyles. (See all of the Libby Award winners.)

Winners were selected based on the number of votes received, nominees’ enthusiasm for being animal-friendly and feedback from the nominees’ fans. In winning the award, Bryan beat out Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and mixed martial artist Jake Shields.

Although Bryan initially explored veganism in 2009 as a way to counteract health problems, The Submission Specialist continues to abstain from eating meat and dairy products, in large part, because of its impact on critters and the environment. According to a peta2 interview with Bryan, his lifestyle saves more than 100 animals each year.

In a WWE.com exclusive interview, Bryan said winning the award is an honor, and he encouraged others to follow his example.

“I can only hope the WWE Universe, or even a small percentage of them, can man up and realize that eating all these animals – all these farm-factory animals that are treated so poorly, pumped full of antibiotics – is not the way to a sustainable, healthy world,” said Bryan, adding, “and that's not the way you get in great shape like the World Heavyweight Champion.”

As his Twitter followers already know, the World Heavyweight Champion strives to educate others on the benefits of veganism. Recently, Bryan tweeted a link that provides those considering the diet with a 21-day starter plan, complete with vegan menus.

Other times, life on the road as a WWE Superstar intervenes, prompting Bryan to turn to the Twitterverse for suggestions of restaurants that accommodate his dietary considerations.

The peta2 recognition caps off a roller-coaster week for Bryan. Last Friday, Mayor Micah Cawley of Yakima, Wash., declared Jan. 13 “Daniel Bryan Day” in honor of The Submission Specialist, who hails from nearby Aberdeen, Wash. Hours later, however, that accolade was overshadowed by the unfortunate injury sustained by Daniel’s girlfriend, AJ, during the champion’s No Disqualification, No Count-out Match against Big Show on SmackDown. (WATCH)

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