Animal Rights

Richard Gere Supports Buddhist Meat-Free Zone

| by PETA

If you had asked me last week to name my favorite Richard Gere moment, I would have taken a long pause before finally deciding on that scene in the 1980s movie American Gigolo when he shimmied in his boxers as he paired his ties to shirts. What can I say? I've always appreciated a man who cares about his appearance.

Much more so, I appreciate a man who speaks out in favor of compassionate actions for animals—so it makes perfect sense that my new favorite Richard Gere moments happened very recently and in real life. According to the New Zealand Herald, the actor, who is a Buddhist, marched with hundreds of monks and activists to support efforts by Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society to transform Bodhgaya, in the Indian state of Bihar, into a vegetarian zone. "Bodhgaya is a pious place and I want to come here again," Mr. Gere said, adding, "I am with the people who have launched this campaign."

It makes perfect sense that Bodhgaya, believed by Buddhists to be where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment around 500 B.C., be "vegetized" in keeping with Buddhism's message of peace. After all, opposition to the taking of life is a core principle of Buddhism.

The founder of Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society, Tenzin Kunga Luding, notes that Gere's participation in and support of the march "has helped the cause a lot," and he adds, "This most sacred land will act as a model for other places to emulate and will impart more positive influence for the well-being of all humans, animals, and the environment."