A precocious Brazilian toddler who made a moral case for not eating his meal of octopus and any other animal has become an impromptu poster child for vegetarianism in a touching video that has gone viral on YouTube.
In the video recorded in Portuguese but featuring English subtitles, the toddler, Luiz Antonio, is presented with the octopus meal and he asks his mother, who is recording his reaction, if the meal is made of real octopus.
When his mother tells him that the octopus is real and through further conversation, how it came to be a meal on his plate little Luiz begins to protest eating the octopus and a list of animals because they are just that, "animals."
"So … ! When we eat animals they die!" questions Luiz in the video.
"Ah … yeah," replies his mom.
"Why?" asks Luiz.
"So we can eat, love."
"Why do they die? I don't like that they die. I like that they stay standing up," he responds.
"OK. Alright. So we're not going to eat it anymore. OK?" says his mother.
"OK," says Luiz before continuing: "These animals … you gotta take care of them … and not eat them!"
"You're right son, so eat the potato and rice."
"Alright … why are you crying?" he asks his mother innocently as she continues recording his reaction.
"I'm not crying, I'm just touched by you," she says.
"I see water coming out," he tells his mother.
"Eat. No need to eat the octopus, alright?" she tells him.
The video which was published on YouTube on May 29, has already been viewed nearly 1.5 million times as of Monday afternoon and it has sparked a growing debate between opponents and proponents of vegetarianism and elicited emotional responses in many others.
"OM*G Pass me the Kleenex! That child is adorable and no one should give children meat until they are given the choice themselves, when they are old enough to decide for themselves like this little lad," wrote Sasha Honey in the comments section of the video on YouTube.
"I do respect vegans, but I am a meat eater LOL That being said, this child is such a beautiful example of the innocence and love of children...and how they see the world. It is amazing, and good for his mom for respecting his feelings," wrote Crystal Haka on the video.
"Seriously? Heated debate? Name calling? This is a video of a little boy making discoveries about the world, not a PETA campaign!" wrote Rosalie Coleman.
"Arguing about the eating of animals is a never ending argument with no right or wrong, answer just like the God debate. Obviously humans don't NEED meat, otherwise vegetarians wouldn't exist, they'd be dead, the end. Appreciate the video for simply what it is, an endearing moment between a mother & her son," she added.