Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Beauty for the beasts!

When a Playmate gets serious about saving the Bunnies...
Pamela Anderson has perhaps been the world’s ‘biggest’ babe ever since C.J. arrived on Baywatch and began running, in slow motion. Where in the past year we saw a Kazakhstani – Borat – fall in love withpAMELA aNDERSON Pam and travel across the United States for her, this year we will see her reprising the role of a blonde, in Blonde and Blonder. But in between her professional commitments, Pamela Anderson has spared precious time for a cause she truly believes in. From promoting vegetarianism to fi ghting for her furry friends, this PETA activist’s messages have reached out to audiences worldwide. Th e sexy Playmate talks of her crusade in this B&E Special.

When and why did you join PETA?
I have been active with PETA since the early ’90s. Because of the popularity of Baywatch, I knew that I could use my fame to draw attention to – and help stop – cruelty to animals. So I bombarded them with letters until they took me on board!

What was the one incident that made you sit up and take notice of animal rights?
My crusade started when I was 10 years old and I walked into the shed behind our house on Vancouver Island, Canada, right aft er my dad had returned from a hunting trip. I opened the door, looked up, and there, hanging upside down, was a once-beautiful deer, her fur and body drenched in blood. I remember shrieking and running as fast as I could. I made a vow then to try to stop the needless suff ering of animals. I knew that I had a mission, and I wanted to make a diff erence.

What have been your eff orts to further the cause both in your daily personal life and to make others aware?
For starters, I never eat meat. And I don’tPamela Anderson buy leather shoes or fur-trimmed jackets or buy lipstick that was tested by blinding rabbits. It’s not hard, it just means being aware of what I’m buying and supporting, learning which cosmetics brands are cruelty-free, and reading labels to fi nd pleather – not leather – boots and bags. I really believe in teaching by example: If others can look at me and see how easy it is to take simple steps to reduce suff ering, they’ll be inspired to make kind choices too.

How is it possible for you to make a style statement without contributing to animal ill treatment?
My friend Stella McCartney doesn’t use a stitch of fur, leather, or merino wool in her designs. Th at’s the trend: Th e 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.

Do you plan to visit India to campaign for PETA?
Not currently but you never know!
What’s your opinion on the recent boycott of the Indian leather industry by Kenneth Cole and Liz Claiborne?
I applaud these kind companies – both of which are major retailers in the United States – for taking a stand against cruelty, and I predict that others will follow as they learn more about the suff ering caused by India’s leather trade. During PETA’s investigations, they have seen animals transported in suff ocating conditions: Fift een to 20 cows, or more, are crammed into trucks meant to hold only fi ve or six. Many animals die en route. Animals who are too sick or injured to walk are dragged and beaten. At municipal slaughterhouses, animals are slaughtered in full view of each other, which is illegal, and cows look helplessly on as their companions slowly bleed to death.

Unless the industry takes immediate steps to reduce this suffering, I’m sure that other retailers and designers – as well as caring consumers around the world – will also stop buying leather from India. We have so many other choices these days. Th ere was a time when animal abuse in the skin trade, and other industries for that matter, went unchallenged, but more and more people are willing to take a stand and boycott cruelly produced produPamela Anderson Leects.

How do you manage your career while battling hepatitis?
I feel great – thanks to my healthy lifestyle and vegetarian diet. But animal rights is my passion, so I’d like to keep the focus on animals and what people can do to help them. I do hope that your readers will learn more about these issues and how small changes, like buying non-leather shoes or eating more vegetarian meals, can make a world of diff erence to animals. I think we all have the responsibility to choose on the side of compassion whenever possible, because the animals don’t have a choice.

How long have you been a vegetarian? How has it benefi ted you? People find it tough to reconcile that a sexy actor like you sports a vegetarian lifestyle! Comment.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a teenager. Being a vegetarian is what keeps me feeling sexy! A meat-based diet is loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, which packs on pounds and makes you feel sluggish, but a vegetarian diet is healthy and slimming, and of course humane.

One of the most controversial things you’ve done is posing nude in Stella McCartney’s boutique window. What was it like? Did you feel weird being stared at, or was it worth it? How did the organisation benefi t?
If a cause is important to me, I’ll do whatever it takes to make a diff erence. And I think that actions like posing nude in Stella’s store window, where we re-created PETA’s “We’d Rather Bare Skin Th an Wear Skin” ad campaign, are very powerful. Th ey make people take notice, and that’s what’s needed – to get people to look, think, and take action. Posing nude can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it’s nothing compared to what the animals killed for their fur go through.

What do you feel about celebrities wearing fur?
It’s terrible when stars like J Lo and BeyoncĂ© wear fur – I worry that their Pamela Anderson Leeyoung fans will see them and not think about the cruelty that goes into every fur coat or piece of fur trim.

Fortunately, thanks to groups like PETA, more and more people are thinking about these issues. Most of us now know that animals killed for fur suff er horribly – they are skinned alive, clubbed to death, crushed in steel-jaw traps, and genitally electrocuted, sometimes just for a little trim on a coat collar. In China, even cats and dogs are routinely bludgeoned, hanged, or strangled with wire nooses, so that their fur can beturned into trim and trinkets.

Th ese days, with so many choices available to us, there’s just no excuse for wearing real fur. If you don’t wear fur, please talk to others, so they’ll know why you made your compassionate decision. We all have to do our part to put this cruel industry out of business.

What do you think is the biggest learning you’ve had from your lifestyle? Do your children understand your philosophy? How important is it for children to know this?
I’ve learned that one person can make a huge diff erence for animals just by forgoing meat, leather, and other animal products. My boys understand this because I’ve taught them kindness and respect for animals and have raised them to make compassionate choices. I think that it’s important to teach kids empathy for animals, because kids naturally love animals and if they knew how they suff ered before they were turned into burgers or a belt, they’d never eat meat or wear leather again.

In what other ways can you spread the message?
Well, as you know, I’ve done numerous actions with PETA to help get the word out. I traded in my red Baywatch swimsuit for a lettuce-leaf bikini for an ad promoting vegetarianism. I’ve narrated exposĂ©s of the leather trade in India and the meat industry in the US. Earlier this year, I spearheaded a petition drive against the annual seal hunt in Canada, where baby seals are still beaten bloody on the ice for their fur. I’ve fi red off letters, posed for posters, called on designers to create animal-friendly fashions, and even written an opinion piece for Th e Wall Street Journal, urging advertising executives to stop using unwilling animal actors to sell products.

Everyone can do their part – whether it’s something as bold as attending a demonstration or as simple as making a vegetarian meal for a loved one. Every little bit helps – the important thing is to just do something.


Kumudha said...

Thanks for the wonderful post!

Apt for october - World Vegetarian Awareness Month

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