25 Celebrity Animal Lovers and Their Causes
Celebrities take up all sorts of causes. One of them is animal rights.
It's no secret that domesticated and wild animals need a voice in society. If people with a large platform can be that voice, it bodes well for their future.
Meet some famous animal lovers who have used their fame to give back.
Animal charities and organizations: Animal Defenders International, Center for Coastal Studies, Cruelty Free International, DJ&T Foundation, Farm Sanctuary, Forest Animal Rescue, Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, Orca Network, PETA, Save the Chimps, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, The Humane Society, United Activists for Animal Rights
Bottom line: The former host of "The Price Is Right" has been an animal activist for about three decades. In 1994, Bob Barker set up the DJ & T Foundation to support spay and neuter clinics.
He also has been a staunch advocate for zoo animals. Barker supported a bill against the use of circus elephants and offered $100,000 to the Los Angeles Zoo to have Billy, its bull elephant, moved to a Northern California sanctuary.
Barker said of his activism: "About 20 years ago, I was chairman of Be Kind to Animals Week in L.A. I was invited by different organizations to participate in their activities. As I did, I began to become aware of the terrible exploitation of animals in the world and felt compelled to try to rectify the situation. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since."
Animal charities and organizations: African Wildlife Foundation, Animals Asia. Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, PETA, The Humane Society
Bottom line: Alicia Silverstone has not only been a vegan for decades, but in 2004, PETA voted her "Sexiest Female Vegetarian." She wrote "The Kind Diet" to show people how to make an easy transition to a plant-based lifestyle.
She has said: "The amazing thing about [veganism] is that it’s turned me into a health nut, because you feel so good, you feel so different. So being able to do something that is good for the Earth, good for the animals and good for you all at the same time seems like such a no-brainer. It’s like the biggest 'Duh!'"
Animal charities and organizations: Animal Defenders International, Farm Sanctuary, Jane Goodall Institute Mercy For Animals, PETA, The Humane Society
Bottom line: Moby has been vegan since 1987. He started the Little Pine restaurant in Los Angeles, which is sometimes used to host and fund animal rights organizations.
In 2018, he sold his New York home and donated all profits from the sale to animal rights organizations and other charities. He's also sold his own memorabilia and musical gear for the same reasons.
In recent years, he's expressed his support for vegans and environmentalists Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall saying, "If these two phenomenal human beings are vegan, why isn’t everybody? For the climate, for the environment, for human health, and mainly, for the animals."
Moby on Why Animal Rights Are Important
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi
Animal charities and organizations: Ellen – American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Best Friends Animal Society, Farm Sanctuary, Halo Pet Foundation, PETA, Petco Foundation, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, SPCA, The Gentle Barn, The Humane Society, The Ellen Fund
Portia – Best Friends Animal Society, Farm Sanctuary, The Gentle Barn, The Humane Society, The Ellen Fund
Bottom line: Ellen and Portia are very involved in animal activism. Not only do they donate and support pet rescues and shelters across the United State, but they've also taken their activism worldwide.
The Ellen Fund was founded in 2018 as a gift from Portia to Ellen to support global conservation efforts for endangered species.
Its first project was to build a 12-acre campus for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. In 2021, the Ellen Fund's "Endangered" campaign awarded $1 million to support gorillas and other wild animals, including leopards, frogs, songbirds, sharks, lemurs and giraffes.
Animal charities and organizations: Compassion in World Farming, Cool Earth, Greenpeace Hauser Bears, Last Chance for Animals, Mercy For Animals, PETA, Save Me Trust, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, The Gentle Barn
Bottom line: Pamela Anderson has been an outspoken vegan and animal lover for years. Her PETA ads are the stuff of legend in the activist community.
In 2018, she produced "The Game Changers," a Netflix documentary that showed you don't have to be a carnivore to be a professional athlete.
She's also participated in many protests regarding animal rights, including against the fashion house Prada in an effort to get them to stop using fur. Within a year of her campaign, Prada complied.
Animal charities and organizations: PETA
Bottom line: "X-Files" and "The Crown" actress Gillian Anderson is not only passionate about women's rights. She's also a strong animal advocate. In fact, she won an award from PETA for her hard work in 2006.
She is a fervent campaigner against animal testing. In 2009, she encouraged European Parliament to protect animals from this practice, and in 2015, she asked the Indian government to end animal toxicity tests.
A few years later, she encouraged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn Canada's annual commercial seal hunt.
Animal charities and organizations: Precious Paws, ASPCA
Bottom line: Sir Patrick Stewart loves pit bulls, and he's doing his best to change the dog's reputation. He lent his services to the ASPCA’s National Dogfighting Awareness Day campaigns in 2017 by appearing in an anti-dogfighting video and promoting pit bull awareness on social media.
That same year, he began fostering pitties in his home and posting them to social media, so people could see how loving the dogs really are. He even insisted on featuring one on "Star Trek: Picard."
He said of fostering: "This is a most extraordinary honor, which gives Sunny [his wife] and me much pleasure, even though the privilege of helping to protect and celebrate pit bulls is all we need. Our longing is that one day we shall be settled enough to welcome a pittie into our home for good — come that day."
Sir Patrick Stewart Comforting a Dog
Howard Stern and Beth Ostrosky Stern
Animal charities and organizations: Howard – North Shore Animal League, North Shore Animal League America, Bianca's Furry Friends Feline Adoption
Beth – American Humane Association, Helen Woodward Animal Center, North Shore Animal League, North Shore Animal League America, Petco Foundation, Bianca's Furry Friends Feline Adoption
Bottom line: Howard Stern has been very vocal on his radio show about him and his wife Beth's fostering of cats at their home in New York state.
So far, the couple has fostered over 1,000 felines (and at least one guinea pig). They have even opened an adoption center by partnering with North Shore Animal League America.
Bianca's Furry Friends Feline Adoption offers a cage-free environment and medical care for cats and kittens waiting for their furever home.
Animal charities and organizations: Best Friends Animal Society, Helen Woodward Animal Center, North Shore Animal League, Petco Foundation, The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation
Bottom line: ActressKatherine Heigl is a longtime animal advocate. Her most recent passion has been ending inhumane euthanasia techniques (gas chambers) in Utah, her home state.
Heigl also runs the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation with her mother. Its focus is on placing rescue animals in loving homes.
Animal charities and organizations: Animal Aid, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, Cats Protection, Compassion in World Farming, Cruelty Free International, Dr. Hadwen Trust, Farm Sanctuary, Humane Society International PETA, Save Me Trust
Bottom line: Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders has been an outspoken animal rights activist and vegan for decades, writing countless letters to government leaders in support of animals and inviting PETA to set up at her shows.
Hynde has been so passionate about her beliefs she's been arrested at several protests, one of which was against KFC in France, after smearing fake blood on the restaurant's walls.
She's also been outspoken about New York City's horse-drawn carriages as well as other animal-related issues.
Animal charities and organizations: Best Friends Animal Society, Dogs Deserve Better, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, Save the Chimps, The Humane Society
Bottom line: "Real Time" host Bill Maher is so passionate about animal rights, that he's been on PETA's board for two decades and has hosted and been involved in several events for the organization. He's also supported several other organizations for a long time.
Maher is passionate about animal rescue, overpopulation, and testing: "To those people who say, 'My father is alive because of animal experimentation,' I say, 'Yeah, well, good for you. This dog died so your father could live." Sorry, but I am just not behind that kind of trade-off."
Animal charities and organizations: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Animal Defenders International, Cruelty Free International, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Greenpeace Humane Society International, International Rescue Committee, PETA, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, TigerTime
Bottom line: Sir Paul has been a vegetarian since the early 1970s. One night, he had an epiphany as he watched his own lambs frolicking outside his window. He said he realized he was "was taking animals’ lives."
He has since been an advocate for farm animals. He lent his talents to PETA by narrating its "Glass Walls" documentary.
The former Beatle has also written songs on the subject. "Wildlife" contemplated the lives of zoo animals, and "Looking for Changes" addresses vivisection.
Paul McCartney on Animal Rights
Animal charities and organizations: Animal Defenders International, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, Cool Earth Cruelty Free International, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Dr. Hadwen Trust, Hauser Bears, Humane Society International, League Against Cruel Sports, PETA, Save Me Trust, TigerTime, Wildlife Aid Foundation, World Animal Protection
Bottom line: Ricky Gervais is outspoken regarding his love for animals. In 2018, he won The Humane Society International's Cecil Award for his efforts to end trophy hunting. He's also been vocal about the horrors of wet markets.
"We can’t carry on exploiting animals, eating wildlife and trashing the planet," he said in an interview with the Mirror. "The wildlife trade and markets have to close. Otherwise it will be a case of when, and not if, we have another global pandemic."
Animal charities and organizations: Animals Asia, Best Friends Animal Society, Born Free Foundation Entertainment Industry Foundation, Helen Woodward Animal Center, IS Foundation Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Sierra Club, The Humane Society, UNEP, WildAid WWF
Bottom line: Actor and model Ian Somerhalder fell in love with animals at an early age growing up in Covington, Louisiana, as he was surrounded by diverse ecosystems in the Gulf Coast area.
After witnessing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastate his beloved home, he decided to become an agent for change. Not only did he begin working with different organizations, he started the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, with a focus on animal cruelty and saving the environment.
Animal charities and organizations: Animal Aid, Animal Defenders International, Compassion in World Farming, Kitten Rescue, Last Chance for Animals, PETA, peta2,RSPCA, Save Me Trust, The Humane Society
Bottom line: The hard-rocking British bassist for Black Sabbath is a staunch animal rights supporter who works with several organizations on both sides of the Atlantic.
He's offered reward money for abused animals and championed rescues over the years saying, "There are so many dogs and cats and all kinds of animals [who] need homes. There's no reason to go out and buy them from a pet shop when you can just get them from your local shelter."
Butler has also committed his time to peta2, an organization that inspires kids to change their attitudes about animals.
Animal charities and organizations: PETA, The Humane Society
Bottom line: Sia has lent a hand to various animal organizations and has spoken out against wool, leather and pet breeding.
The Australian singer and songwriter is a recent investor in Colorado's Bond Pet Foods, a company working to improve the pet food industry by reducing its reliance on factory farming.
She's also advocated for animals by co-narrating the Australian animal-rights documentary, "Dominion," withJoaquin Phoenix.
Animal charities and organizations: Compassion in World Farming, Cruelty Free International, PETA, Save Me Trust
Bottom line: Morrissey has been a vocal vegan for decades. His band, The Smiths, released an album called "Meat Is Murder" in 1985.
As a solo artist, he's been known to forbid band members from being photographed while eating meat, and at 2016's Riot Fest, he demanded that food vendors not serve it.
He has appeared in ads for PETA and continues to raise awareness about everything from factory farming to the fur trade and animal overpopulation.
Animal charities and organizations: American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, In Defense of Animals, Shambala Preserve, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, The Humane Society
Bottom line: Tippi Hedren's love affair with animals began in the late 1960s. Since then, she's devoted her life to fighting cruelty perpetuated on domestic and wild animals.
Her real passion, however, is saving big cats. She began the Shambala Preserve, located near Acton, California, where she lives today with 70 odd lions, tigers, leopards and cougars.
Once a month, the public can enter to see the cats — with a guide, of course.
Behind the Scenes at Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve
Animal charities and organizations: Actors and Others for Animals,The Doris Day Animal Foundation, and the Doris Day Animal League (recently merged with The Humane Society)
Bottom line: ActressDoris Day was an early advocate for animals. She began her philanthropic work in the 1950s and was a founder of Actors and Others for Animals, which was created to protect them during filming.
Two other organizations followed — the Doris Day Pet Foundation, which helped find homes for rescues (many of which Day took home herself), and the Doris Day Animal League, which dealt with larger legislative issues involving animal rights.
Animal charities and organizations: African Wildlife Foundation, International Fund For Animal Welfare, Jane Goodall Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Onyx and Breezy Foundation, Save the Elephants, The Gorilla Organization, UNEP, WildAid, WWF, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Bottom line: Leonardo DiCaprio is known for his support of environmentalist causes, but he also supports animal rights, which go hand-in-hand with saving the environment.
He has recently started his own nonprofit, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. As part of the larger organization Earth Alliance, the DiCaprio Foundation addresses climate change and the loss of ecosystems that support wildlife.
Animal charities and organizations: Greenpeace, Mercy For Animals, PETA, The Gorilla Organization, Southern Antarctic Whale Sanctuary
Bottom line: Bryan Adams has been a vegan since the early 1990s, and while friends thought it was fad, he's been passionate about it ever since.
Soon after turning vegan, he campaigned for the Southern Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and later appeared in a PETA campaign against fur.
He's said of his advocacy: "I'm strongly against fur and all other forms of animal exploitation. I'm against the slaughter of any living being whether it was seal, cow, dog or some other animal."
Animal charities and organizations: Free The Wild
Bottom line: If it wasn't for Cher, Kaavan the elephant's fate would have had a very different outcome.
Kaavan spent 35 years in captivity in a Pakistani zoo. His companion died in 2012, and he spent eight years alone. He was stressed, depressed and malnourished (elephants are social creatures, after all), and that's when Cher stepped in.
She created the organization called Free the Wild to help Kaavan and kept trying to persuade the zoo and the Pakastani government to allow her to relocate the elephant.
She was eventually successful. She and another organization, Four Paws, were able to move Kaavan to a sanctuary in Cambodia via a seven-hour flight on a cargo plane.
Today, he's thriving in a Cambodian jungle with a host of other elephant friends.
Cher Meets Kaavan for the First Time
Animal charities and organizations: Animal Defenders International, HEART, In Defense of Animals, Mercy For Animals, PETA, UNEP, Farm Sanctuary
Bottom line: Joaquin Phoenix uses his fame to raise awareness about animals. When winning awards for his role as the titular character in "Joker," he would either make mention of animal issues in his speech (at the Oscars) or wear clothing that reiterated his stance (at the Golden Globes).
He's joined protests and has been outspoken critic of factor farming. Just two days after his heartfelt Oscar speech, he joined with forces with Farm Sanctuary to save a calf from slaughter.
Joaquin Phoenix Rescues a Mother Cow
Animal charities and organizations: Support and Feed (with mom Maggie Baird)
Bottom line: Billie Eilish has been vegan since she was in her pre-teens. The popular singer-songwriter uses her influence and larger-than-life social media presence to teach people about the lifestyle, all while posting exposés of the mink, fur, and wool industries.
In 2021, Eilish appeared at the Met Gala in a custom Oscar De la Renta gown, which she agreed to wear if it banned fur for good. It did.
PETA awarded her with its "Person Of The Year" award in 2021. She and her mom also run Support and Feed, an organization devoted to giving vegan meals to people in need.
Animal charities and organizations: Farm Sanctuary, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Morris Animal Foundation, Onyx and Breezy Foundation, PAWS/LA, Petco Foundation, spcaLA
Bottom line: Betty White was one of Hollywood's earliest and most beloved animal rights activists. She spent much of her life in the spotlight supporting animal shelters, adopting recuses, and protecting animal interests around the world, from zoos to farms.
She served on the Los Angeles Zoo's board for 50 years, paving the way for its high-tech, spacious chimpanzee, orangutan and gorilla exhibits.
In 2009, she said, "I’m the luckiest person in the world — my life is divided in absolute half: half animals, half show business. ... Both my mother and father were tremendous animal lovers. They imbued in me the fact that, to me, there isn’t an animal on the planet that I don’t find fascinating and want to learn more about."
Celebrating Betty White's Love for Animals