One benefit to being a celebrity is that you can use your public status to draw attention to causes that you care about. Some stars donate money. Others do more, using their status to actively promote causes and foundations that protect animal rights. Some have even gone a step further in their activism by walking away from financial opportunities to draw attention to poor treatment of animals.
5 Howard Stern
Most people know Howard Stern as the offensive and crude shock jock who hosts a prominent radio show. Less well known is the fact that Stern and his wife, Beth, have used his celebrity platform to support animals as well. The couple’s most direct involvement is with the North Shore Animal League, for which they raised money in 2011 by producing calendars featuring pets. In a January 2012 radio airing of “The Howard Stern Show,” Stern announced that he was joining his wife in a fish and vegetables diet. The couple further displayed their mutual dedication to animals by asking wedding guests to make donations to the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons.
4 Sarah McLachlan
You could argue that few animal activists have generated as much financial backing for an animal cause as singer Sarah McLachlan. A supporter of the ASPCA, McLachlan loaned her celebrity and hit song “Angel” to a 2007 commercial asking for donations to support abandoned animals. According to an April 2013 “Vet Street” article, the commercial was credited with helping raise more than $30 million since its original airing in 2007. McLachlan, who is Canadian, contacted Prime Minister Stephan Harper in April 2012 to discuss strategies to make seal hunting illegal in Canada, according to a “Global Animal” article.
3 Bob Barker
Before retiring in 2007, Bob Barker famously used the final moments of his 35 years hosting the hit game show “The Price is Right” to remind audience members to get their pets spayed and neutered. In the true spirit of an animal activist, Barker withdrew from his role as a Miss USA pageant judge after learning that participants would be wearing animal furs.
2 Betty White
Few celebs have the history of supporting animals in the way that comedy actress Betty White has. White serves as the president emerita of the Morris Animal Foundation and has been on the board of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association since 1974. A self-described animal person, White has financially backed animal medical research foundations and projects. The actress received the “Humane Award” from the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1987 and was honored by the City of Los Angeles in 2006 with a bronze plaque near the Los Angeles Zoo’s gorilla exhibit.
1 Ellen DeGeneres
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres, host of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” is a well-established voice for animal rights. She has used her show and social media presence to encourage people to donate money to animal charities. DeGeneres owns many animals, including horses, and co-founded a business centered on a holistic approach to pet care. DeGeneres switched to a vegan diet in 2008 to draw attention to atrocities committed against animals in food processing. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, applauded her efforts by awarding her its 2009 Woman of the Year Award.