An­i­mal aid

Celebri­ties lend their names to the PETA cam­paign against an­i­mal cru­elty.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by S.S. YOGA yoga@thes­tar.com.my Pics cour­tesy of PETA Asia

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

care

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?

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