Amelia Nidelea-Polanin is a typical busy 11-year-old. She loves sports and is a Girls Wrestling State Champion. She’s been into jiu-jitsu for the last six years and also is on a swim team.
In addition to sports, she has another passion—animals. Amelia and her family started volunteering about a year ago at a Wisconsin animal sanctuary called Happy Snout Ranch every Sunday. It’s an hour and 40-minute drive from their home, but the drive is worth it to the family.
“I clean poop and do a lot of belly rubs,” Amelia said. “I also play with dogs, goats, pigs and a baby cow.”
The hardest chore she has to do is cleaning up poop, which she said can often be a lot.
Happy Snout Ranch is currently home to five large pigs, many potbelly/mini pigs, goats, alpacas, sheep, a donkey, ponies, chickens, ducks, ferrets and more. They are located in East Troy, Wisconsin and are vegan owned and operated. In addition to the animals, there is an organic vegetable garden and multiple fruit trees on the premises. They update their Facebook page often with snapshots of the animals that live on the ranch.
“I learned there that animals love having lots of different friends and they love to play,” Amelia said. “Also, turkeys love to cuddle so much!”
Amelia likes working with animals so she can make sure they are happy and safe.
“So many people have no idea that animals are not different than us,” she said. “Many don’t want to know or see what happens to animals before they become food—animals aren’t food.”
Amelia is so outspoken about the issue that she was named PETA’s Cutest Vegan Kid for 2020. She has been a vegan since age four, when she found out the chicken she was eating had the same name as the animal. She then decided she didn’t want to hurt any more animals and became vegan. Later, her mother, brother and father became vegan as well.
Amelia can be found at protests marching against using animals like geese, ducks and coyotes for clothes and using animals in circuses. A few years ago, Amelia marched with fellow vegans at the Official Animal Rights March in Chicago. She even gave a speech there!
When she’s not busy working to save animals, Amelia is in the sixth grade. She likes math and hopes to one day become a veterinarian who works for a sanctuary, or perhaps own her own one day.
Do you know a kid who is helping animals in some way? You can nominate them as The Good Kid of the Month here.