Anderson reveals ‘liking animals isn’t enough’

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How did you get involved with PETA?

I’ve been an animal lover all my life. While I was on Baywatch, the press became

increasingly interested in my personal life, and I decided I’d rather share the

attention with something that really matters to me. So I wrote to PETA asking

to get more involved. They soon asked me to pose for one of their “I’d Rather

Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ads, and I jumped at the chance.

Have you had any experience with animal cruelty? How did it affect you?

When I was a little girl on Vancouver Island, I happened into the shed behind

our house soon after my father returned from a hunting trip. The scene plays in my

mind like a horror movie—I opened the shed door and there was a beautiful deer,

her fur splattered with blood, hanging upside down. I shrieked. My father tried

to calm me down, saying “it’s just an animal.” Realizing that he had killed her

on purpose made me cry even harder. He never went hunting again, and I promised

myself that from that moment on, I’d always protect animals.

What you have learned through your work with PETA?

I’ve learned that being nice and liking animals isn’t always enough—we have to

be strong to fight this battle, because the industries we’re fighting can be ruthless.

PETA uses a lot of different approaches— you see the splashy stunts and slick

ads, but they’re also working behind the scenes, documenting cruelty on factory

farms, supporting the development of alternatives to animal testing, working to

prosecute jerks who beat their dogs or throw kittens on barbeque grills for fun,

and rescuing and caring for animals who are abused or abandoned. PETA is tough

and tenacious, yet still sexy. We’re a perfect match.

Did working with PETA change your life in any way?

Definitely. Animals have absolutely no say whatsoever in how they live or how

they are treated, because they have no voice of their own. Through PETA I’m

able to speak up for them and help them be heard. My partnership with PETA has

definitely been one of the most fulfilling long-term relationships I’ve ever had!

Have you ever turned down a role because the movie or show contained animal mistreatment?

Animals have absolutely no business in show business. Once, when a chimpanzee

was scheduled to appear on a sitcom I was working on, I made producers use a

robot instead. I’ve visited sanctuaries full of discarded ape “actors,” so I know firsthand

what becomes of animal performers.  Animals being ripped from their mothers

when they are just days old and beaten to perform tricks is something that I refuse

to be part of—period.

How do you achieve an animal-friendly wardrobe? Do you have any favorite designers?

My friend Stella McCartney is quickly becoming the queen of the catwalk, and she doesn’t use a

stitch of fur or leather in her designs. That’s the trend: The most innovative designers are refusing

to work with animal skins, and they’re proving that it’s easy to create a look that kills without

killing animals. And I’ve never met a pleather stiletto that I didn’t like! I’m also glad that Ralph

Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein are now fur-free.

Have you ever worn fur in the past?

No way! There are no skeletons in my closet.  After all, fashion should be fun, not fatal.

Do you make sure the beauty products you use are not tested on animals?

Yes. Beauty shouldn’t have an ugly side. There is absolutely no excuse for companies to use cruel

and outdated animal tests. Check out peta.org for a list of companies that are animal-friendly.

How do you want to be remembered?

I hope people remember me as someone who stumbled into the spotlight and then shared

it with things that need more attention in the world, such as animal rights, gay rights,

and disease prevention. Growing up, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to really make

a difference, but I hear from people all the time who say they went vegetarian because of an ad

I did, or they stopped wearing fur because of a video I narrated. That’s a wonderful feeling, to

know you’re affecting people in a positive way, and I hope I can continue to do that.

WHAT IS PETA?  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 2.0 million members and supporters,

is the largest animal rights organization in the world.

MISSION STATEMENT  PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most

intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the

entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and

other “pests,” and the abuse of backyard dogs.  PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research,

animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.   www.peta.org

(Courtesy of  petconnectionpaper.com)

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