By Karin Bennett
It wasn't easy to choose two people out of the slew of celebrities who have taken action for animals this year—heck, just during the past two months, Joanna Krupa bared her true feelings about purebred pups, Ana Ortiz blasted McDonald's, and a blinding number of stars all agreed that protesting the Canadian seal slaughter fit their caring personalities to a T.
But we had to make a decision, so this year, PETA's Man of the Year is Tim Gunn and PETA's Woman of the Year is Ellen DeGeneres. I must say, we're over the moon about it!
Let's start with Ellen—ever since she and her wife, Portia De Rossi, decided to ditch all animal products in 2008, Ellen has made sure that her wildly popular talk show includes features to raise people's awareness of animal issues. She made vegan pizza with Chef Wolfgang Puck, spoke with Dr. Neal Barnard about the health benefits of a vegan diet, and just in time for Thanksgiving, "talked turkey" about the everyday abuse of animals on factory farms with Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals. Ellen also created pages on her Web site that feature insight, info, and tips about cruelty-free living. Visitors can find recipes, read about why Ellen went vegan, learn where to shop, and more.
Now on to Tim Gunn: The connoisseur of class, the guru of good taste, the titan of tact (I could go on all afternoon with these) narrated our video exposing skin-crawling atrocities suffered by animals who are slaughtered for their pelts, and the media have been buzzing ever since. Tim recently told the L.A. Times, "Wearing fur is like wearing a big sign reading, 'I'm in favor of inflicting cruelty and pain on animals as a fashion statement.' Unspeakable torture is inflicted on dogs, cats, bunnies, raccoons, foxes, minks, and myriad trapped, helpless creatures in the name of fashion—yes, dogs and cats."
And thanks to Tim, fur challenges are noticeably absent from Project Runway—and there's zero fur at Liz Claiborne, where he is chief creative officer.
So, to Ellen DeGeneres for her exuberant embrace of cruelty-free living and to Tim Gunn for his thoughtful and thought-provoking messages of compassion for animals, we at PETA are dancing in the halls. Thank you, thank you! And conga-rats!