Celebrities are often photographed with their fluffy and adorable companion animals. Seeing these pictures can make celebrities seem more down to earth, it’s one of those silly, “they’re-just-like-us” moments. They love to take their dog for a walk just as much as we do.
Pretty much everyone loves some sort of animal, and it’s great to see when celebrities are using their star status to speak out for those who cannot. Especially with the recent news that, in Hollywood, animals on production sets are not always treated humanely, it’s even better to know that there are animal advocates in the entertainment industry.
There are many celebrities that are doing wonderful work for animals, and to cover them all would take many pages (and that’s a great thing!). To narrow it down a bit, check out our list of ten awesome celebrities that are actually doing great work for animals.
1. Ian Somerhalder
How you know him: As hunky vampire Damon Salvatore on the television series “The Vampire Diaries.”
The work he’s doing for animals: He started the Ian Somerhalder Foundation to address environmental and animal related issues including:
- Ending animal cruelty and promoting programs such as: “species specific sterilization drugs,” transferring and re-training of abandoned animals into assistive and therapy guides.
- Supporting and creating sustainable strategies for “no-kill shelters.”
2. Bob Barker
How you know him: As the charismatic host of “The Price is Right” (from 1972-2007!) who always reminded viewers to spay or neuter their pets.
The work he’s doing for animals: A vegetarian since the late 1970s, Barker has long been a face of the animal rights movement. He founded the DJ&T Foundation that helps fund low cost spay/neuter clinics and voucher programs as a way to help relieve animal overpopulation.
He has donated countless amounts to many different charities including: $1 million to Drury University to establish a Professorship of Animal Rights and an animal ethics course, $5 million to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to fight whaling and $1 million to SHARK to fight pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania. Recently, he helped introduce the “Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act” to restrict the use of exotic, non-domestic animals touring with circuses. In October, he contributed to the relocation of elephants from Canada to a sanctuary in California.
3. Betty White
How you know her: She’s pretty much a screen legend. Her work on the television show “Golden Girls” earned her the Guinness Book of World Records title of Longest TV Career for an entertainer (she’s 91!). She currently stars on “Hot in Cleveland” and has won a Screen Actors Guild award for the show.
The work she does for animals: She is a huge supporter of the Morris Animal Foundation, contributing both monetarily and through public service announcements. In 2011, she hosted the inaugural American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, a celebration of the powerful relationship between dogs and people. In October, when her wax figure was unveiled at Maddame Tussaud’s, the Washington Humane Society organized a very successful pet adoption event.
4. Joaquin Phoenix
How you know him: Starring as Commodus in the 2000 film “Gladiator,” and portraying Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line” are just two examples of his long career. He also has credits directing and in music.
The work he’s doing for animals: Phoenix is most widely recognized in the animal rights world as the person who narrated the life-changing film “Earthlings.” He has been a long time vegan and recounts the moment he made this decision in an interview with Animal Liberation Front. After seeing a dying fish, he explains, “The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death. I recognized it, as did my brothers and sisters.” He later appeared in a powerful PSA commercial for PETA to protest fishing.
5. Emily Deschanel
How you know her: As the super-smart Dr. Temperance Brennan on the television series “Bones.”
The work she does for animals: She was an associate producer for the documentary film “How I Became an Elephant,” which attempts to illustrate the connection between elephant abuse in America and elephant abuse in Asia. In 2010, Emily Deschanel received The HSUS’s Humane Advocate Award for her tireless support of key Humane Society of the United States campaigns, including those addressing dogfighting, factory farming, and the Canadian seal hunt. Emily also serves on the National Council of the Humane Society Legislative Fund and is a frequent presenter at The HSUS’s annual Genesis Awards. She is also a vegan and has been honored by Mercy for Animals for her activism.
6. Russell Simmons
How you know him: He co-founded the Hip hop music label Def Jam and created the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and American Classics.
The work he’s doing for animals: He was nominated as PETA’s 2011 Person of the Year for discussing his vegan diet every chance he gets, including in news interviews; through social media; on the website that he co-founded, Global Grind; and in his latest book, Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All. He has eaten a plant-based diet for more than 10 years. His also has clothing line that is animal-free!
7. Sarah McLachlan
How you know her: Her haunting voice has won her multiple Grammy awards and she founded Lilith Fair to showcase female musicians.
The work she does for animals: Who hasn’t seen that ASPCA commercial? According to the New York Times, this single commercial “raised roughly $30 million for the organization since the advertisements started running in early 2007, making it the A.S.P.C.A.’s most successful fund-raising effort — and a landmark in nonprofit fund-raising, where such amounts are virtually unimaginable for a single commercial.”
In 2012, McLachlan wrote a letter on behalf of PETA to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, protesting that country’s annual seal hunt.
8. Eric Roberts
How you know him: He’s an actor with a recurring role on “Heroes” and known for his early work in “King of the Gypsies.” He’s the brother of Julia Roberts and the father of actress Emma Roberts.
The work he’s doing for animals: He’s a vegan, and stars in the web comedy series “Vegan 101.” He is a supporter of Farm Sanctuary and spoke at their 25th Anniversary Gala. He also supports Precious Paws, Best Friends, Animal Alliance, 600million.org, and Cat Connection.
How you know him: Best known for his over the top antics in “Jackass.”
The work he’s doing for animals: After going through some life changes, Steve-O has become somewhat of a reformed “bad boy” and an outspoken supporter of veganism. In a web interview with the Suicide Girls, he expressed remorse for stunts involving animals, and it is clear that there is a level of concern for how his actions will now be interpreted. He spoke on behalf of PETA to a group of youth activists about how his vegan lifestyle helps him with his sobriety. He also narrated a touching video for Farm Sanctuary about factory farmed animals.
10. Rebecca Corry
How you know her: Her first one-woman show on HBO, “Have You Ever Been Called a Dwarf?,” playing the role of Paul Giamatti’s receptionist, Astrid Barker, in the feature film “Big Fat Liar,” as a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” guest star roles in “The King of Queens” and “Rizzoli and Isles,” and from her very own half-hour Comedy Central special
The work she does for animals: She’s organizing the first ever One Million Pibble March on Washington DC in an effort to end BSL (breed specific legislation) and dog fighting and by doing so, create safe and humane communities for humans and animals.
Looking for more celebrities that are doing good? Check out our list of “10 Celebrities that are Doing Great Work for the Environment!”
Lead Image Source: Mr. Littlehand / Flickr