Hyderabad: His animal advocacy initiatives that include improving the living conditions of animals have won Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli the ‘Person of the Year for 2019’ award instituted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

He joins illustrious celebrities, including his actress-wife Anushka Sharma, who have been conferred the award on earlier occasions. They include Hema Malini, R Madhavan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shashi Tharoor and former Supreme Court Justice KS Panicker Radhakrishnan.

In a statement announcing Kohli’s name, PETA India Director of Celebrity and Public Relations, Sachin Bangera said, “Virat Kohli is a fierce animal rights proponent who never hesitates to run out cruelty to animals any way he can. PETA India encourages everyone to follow his lead and always be an advocate for animals in need.”

A vegetarian, the 31-year-old Kohli petitioned the release of Malti, an elephant used for rides at Amer Fort, who was reportedly violently beaten by eight men, a PETA India statement said.

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