ECHO PARK ( — PETA launched a national search to find America’s cutest vegan kid and found one of them in the Southland.

When Genesis Butler of Signal Hill was just 3, she asked her mom where her chicken nuggets come from.

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“So, I told her the truth. I said, ‘You know what, we kill animals for it, sweetheart. And she was devastated,” said Genelle Palacio-Butler, the child’s mother. “She said, ‘You know what, I don’t want to do this again. ‘ ”

That day, Genesis decided to become a vegetarian, and three years later, she went vegan.

“Because I don’t believe that animals should be used for food, and I don’t believe people should eat them,” said Genesis, now 8.

Genesis persuaded her parents and siblings to go vegan and has now turned her attention to her classmates, who she shares her vegan meals with at lunchtime.

“They actually like it. They don’t really eat the cafeteria food. They always eat my food,” she said.

Genesis says soy tacos are her favorite.

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She has walked in a number of animal-rights protests throughout Los Angeles.

Her dream, she says, is “to get the whole world to go vegan.

“I know I’m getting there,” she said.

Genesis was one of two young winners to be given PETA’s distinction this year of being the “cutest vegan kid.”

PETA said it received 120 submissions, but thousands showed support for Genesis and the other winner.

On Tuesday, PETA staff members greeted Genesis with a goodie basket at their Echo Park office.

“I’m really honored to have this award, because I know PETA does a lot for the animals and I want to really show them that I really care about that,” she said.

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Genesis has asked her school district to introduce Meatless Mondays.