Celebrities lend their names to the PETA campaign against animal cruelty.
CELEBRITIES have their passions and causes too, just like the rest of us. The iconic Brigitte Bardot gave up her life of glamour to devote herself to animal rights. Another famous name, actress and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, is a vegetarian devoted to animal rights. Her ad for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2003, sent waves of approval but was highly controversial. The campaign was called I’d Rather
Go Naked Than Wear Fur and yes, you guessed it, she stripped bare for it! She has since appeared in many other ads for PETA, including one in October last year against the senseless slaughter of seals.
Whether it is pushing for the vegan cause, fighting against cruelty to animals (by authorities, corporations that are in animal and livestock businesses, and individuals) or campaigns against animal testing, cruel practices and acts (such as cutting off sharks’ fin for soups), PETA has been at the forefront of these issues.
The organisation has always managed to get celebrities to be the face of its ads. The latest to join this illustrious list is our very own reigning Miss Malaysia/World Thanuja Ananthan, who is also PETA Malaysia’s ambassador.
Thanuja appears in two ads for PETA Asia with her dog Nala. In the ads, she encourages people to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.
“People who have enough time and love to welcome a dog or cat into their homes should always adopt a homeless animal, and never buy from a breeder or pet store,” says Thanuja, an aspiring lawyer. “It is irresponsible to bring more dogs and cats into the world when so many animals are dying due to a lack of good homes.”
On the international front, actor Kellan Lutz, famous for his role as Emmet Cullen in Twilight and current Calvin Klein underwear model, says: “Adopt, don’t buy.” In the ad released last July, he notes that there’s an overpopulation of cats and dogs. As a result, many unwanted puppies and kittens die in the streets or must be euthanised in animal shelters for lack of good homes.
He echoes runaway teen sensation Justin Bieber (cue: screams from rabid fans) who also urged people to adopt in an ad released last February. The advertisement plays off Bieber’s debut album
My World with the tagline, My World Includes Compassion For Animals. Yours Should Too.
We all know Kara DioGuardi as a judge
from American Idol, but she is also a singersongwriter and producer. In May last year she did an ad with her canine companion Tikki. She wants you to know that you have to be sensitive to the needs of animals, and not just the ones you share your home with.
“Dogs and cats depend on you to take care of them. They deserve your time and attention every day, so play with them, take them on long walks, always spay and neuter, and
them never crate them, chain them, or allow them to roam around outside without supervision.”
Agreeing with her is singer Sean Kingston (who sang Beautiful Girl and coincidentally, did a duet with Bieber). When Kingston was in the region for a series of concerts which included Malaysia in September, he also released an ad with PETA Asia.
Kingston appears in the ad with his companion dog, Stella. He says that if your dogs are your best friend, “keep them inside and make them part of the family. Because life on a chain is no life at all.”
Since this is the Year Of The Tiger, PETA Asia took the opportunity to highlight the plight of tigers and other animals in captivity. Celebrity model Amber Chia posed in a cage covered in painted tiger stripes. Chia will hopefully impart the lessons of keeping wild animals free to her newborn son, who might one day front an ad himself going by recent developments for the budding “brand”.
If you’re someone who likes to wear (real) fur, note that in China – the world’s leading fur exporter – animals on fur farms are commonly skinned alive. Millions of dogs and cats are killed in China for the international fur trade. On fur farms elsewhere, animals spend their lives pacing in cramped wire cages before they are poisoned, electrocuted, gassed or beaten to death.
Chester Bennington isn’t shy about exposing the cruelty of the fur industry ... or his body. The Linkin Park and Dead by Sunrise frontman teamed up with PETA in September last year for the Ink, Not Mink ad campaign, in which he shows off his tattooed physique with the tagline: Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin, And Let Animals Keep Theirs. He stressed that what people in the fur industry do to the animals are acts of inhumanity.
In total agreement are Australian sister-act The Veronicas. Twin sisters Jess and Lisa Origliasso (who were in Kuala Lumpur recently for a Halloween performance) do not wear fur. Last month, both of them held a very realisticlooking skinned rabbit with the caption, Here’s The Rest Of Your Fur Coat, for a PETA ad.
In fact, Jess is so turned off by fur that she emblazoned on the back of her jacket the words “F*** Fur”. The twins also make ethical food choices, and only buy cosmetics and other products from companies that don’t test on animals.
One of Lea Michele’s (of Glee fame) pet peeves is the appalling conditions faced by New York’s carriage horses. Most carriage horses anywhere in the world probably go through the same treatment.
“Horses are forced to work long hours in extreme weather conditions, all the while walking on hard pavement and inhaling exhaust fumes. I want tourists to know that long after their rides are up, these horses’ miserable lives continue, day in and day out,” said Michele, explaining why she did the ad in April 2008.
For some, the only way to ensure that they do not support animal cruelty is by becoming a vegetarian or vegan. One very influential vegetarian and animal rights supporter is Sir Paul McCartney. This legendary musical icon has previously launched a campaign to go vegetarian one day at a time. He also appears in an ad for PETA Asia in March 2008 about being a vegetarian.
This was after actress Alicia Silverstone appeared in a similar advertisement in September 2007. Silverstone had been a vegan for 10 years when she agreed to the ad. “Being vegan truly is the secret to my life’s joy and peace. I feel physically and spiritually better than I could have ever imagined, knowing that I am doing everything I can to reduce animal suffering with simple lifestyle choices like never wearing any products made from animals (like wool and leather), and buying only from companies that never test their products or ingredients on animals.”
Other famous names who have lent themselves to a PETA ad include actress Alyssa Milano, singers Natalie Imbruglia and Joss Stone, actors Mickey Rourke and John Abraham, and basketballer-turned-actor Dennis Rodman.
But, surely you don’t have to be famous to spare a thought for animals, right?