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Celebrity Pet Causes

by Tim Parks
Monday Aug 26, 2013

I sometimes like animals more than people... You might guess that because I live with four dogs, two birds and three chickens. I enjoy the unconditional love that pets provide; even if the chickens prove to be more aloof than the rest of the menagerie. Here's a ladder, poultry, get over yourselves.

There are plenty of Tinsel Town denizens who put their celebrity to good use by highlighting the plights of favored animals and supporting pet causes. Whether it's by pampering their pets or raising awareness against cruelty to our four-legged friends, well most of them, in this capacity stars shine.

There is nothing funny about animal rights. I thought I'd take a less Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial route when discussing famous folks and their furry friends. Seriously, if they don't want people to change the channel, dispense with the sad music in favor of playing Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine," as the animals are being rescued. Just sayin'.

Animal Planet

Betty White has long been a staunch supporter of the Morris Animal Foundation-for over forty years to be exact. The foundation has raised over $70 million towards health studies of dogs, cats, horses and other wildlife critters, including White's favorite, the sea otter. My guess would have been minx the manx, since she roomed with the sassy Blanche on The Golden Girls.

Save the Whales... and the Cougars... And...

Long after actress Tippi Hedren was terrorized by "The Birds"... and Alfred Hitchcock’s pawings on the set, she founded the Shambla Preserve in 1983. The sanctuary is set up to help over 50 exotic big cats, including African lions, Siberian tigers, leopards and of course cougars, which is oddly fitting since Hedren’s daughter Melanie Griffith married younger hubby Antonio Banderas.

"Nashville" actress Hayden Panetierre has a strong resolve for ending the slaughter of whales and dolphins. She seems to be taking a page out of her acting past as Claire the indestructible cheerleader from Heroes - save the whales, save the world!

Ellen DeGeneres has used her afternoon gab-fest to profile the rights of animals and was even named Woman of the Year by PETA in 2009. She advocates the importance of adopting pets from shelters and cruelty-free living for animals. Though thus far no dam-building critter sanctuary has cropped up in her home.

March of the Baldwins

I hear Alec Baldwin is all about the plight of the penguins, which explains why he is seen in public dressed like the little guys in his always-at-the-ready tux-sans the beak of course. Though one hears he can be a bit peck-ish when attempting flight...

"Vampire Diaries" hottie Ian Somerhalder is not only pretty to look at - swoon - he helped to clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Hmmm... Somerhalder and hot oil... Now where was I? He also started his own foundation to educate kids today about the importance of animals and the environment.

Hilary Swank was the former spokesperson for Iams’ "Home for the Holidays" campaign and has partnered up with the Romanian-based foundation Four Paws, which connects rescue dogs with disabled and institutionalized people. From what I understand, she has also been involved in horse rescue. I’m surprised it wasn’t equus dentistry given those big Swank-y choppers of hers.

Must be Elephant Love

English actor Stephen Fry doesn’t want there to be a lonely pachyderm on the planet, as is clearly illustrated by his involvement with Elephant Dating, the service that pairs contributors with their very own Asian elephant to support or "date" for a year. Hopefully the pairing isn’t done online, because if human behavior has taught us anything then the elephant’s sponsors would probably be inclined to lie about their weight.

Kristen Bell, who will be headlining the upcoming "Veronica Mars" movie, advocates for better conditions for pregnant pigs. She got the idea to champion the cause after seeing the message in a spider web that said "Some Pigs Need Your Help!" Thanks to dear Charlotte.

When Sigourney Weaver starred in the movie "Gorillas in the Mist," she became an activist for protecting gorillas and other primates. Weaver was named honorary chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for her efforts. It’s a good thing that she didn’t find the same soft spot in her heart for her Alien co-stars, because on Earth everyone can hear you scream!

Leonardo DiCaprio of "Great Gatsby" fame is apparently attempting to be the "Great Catsby" as well, with his co-sponsoring work with Save The Tigers Now, highlighting the organization’s opposition to keeping big cats as pets. I would think that would just fall under the category of common sense. I mean really, can you imagine the size of that litter box?


A lot of stars are opposed to the wearing of fur and have even posed buck-nekkid in ad campaigns in support of PETA.

Charlize Theron made the statement of "If you wouldn’t wear your dog, please don’t wear any fur" for the watchdog group. To show her support, she gave up fur after the movie Monster commenced filming in 2003.

Khloe Kardashian shed her clothes, and inhibitions, to showcase her desire to rather go naked than wear fur. It caused quite the scandal amongst the Armenian community, as they are known to wear fur, or body hair, as it were.

Sharon Osbourne didn’t doff her favorite frock in order to get her point across when protesting outside the trendy boutique Intermix, holding a sign stating that she wouldn’t shop there until they go fur-free. Her stance was going very well until Ozzy showed up and bit another head off of a bat.

So, hopefully by giving examples of the good that celebrities can do by using their name and stature to put the spotlight on animal activism, perhaps you may be so inclined to start your own campaign.

Hmm, now what animal is most associated with our community?
Yes, of course, go ahead and start a Bear Aware campaign today. Oh, and you’re welcome all you cubs, otters, pandas and koalas.

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