Long before the glamour of celebrity veganism, Mary Tyler Moore was championing animal rights through a variety of outlets. The long-time vegetarian and supporter of PETA arguably helped pave the way for fellow animal lovers to stand up to both the fashion and meat industries that so infamously and continuously exploit animals. Here are just a few ways Mary Tyler Moore will forever remain an animal rights legend.
- She was the first celebrity to donate a fur coat (a $112,000 sable) to PETA for use in protest, explaining, “Behind every beautiful fur coat, there is a story. It is a bloody, barbaric story.”
- Moore wrote to her politicians, asking them to pass legislation protecting farmed animals.
- In 1994, the actress offered a $1,000 ransom to a Malibu restaurant that was keeping a 65-year-old lobster in its tank. Although the restaurant declined to return Spike the lobster to his native waters near Maine, Moore succeeded in calling attention to the fact that “lobsters, like humans, can feel pain.”
- In 2001, she sponsored the Great American Meatout. She teamed up with Farm Sanctuary and recruited other celebs to teach the public how to eat healthfully without consuming meat.
- In 2002, she narrated the documentary Life Behind Bars, a piece about the horrors of factory farming.
- In 2004, Moore was outspoken about the destruction of two red hawks’ nest on her apartment building. She told reporters: “I am so outraged that they would do this without so much as a by-your-leave. This was something we like to talk about: a kinder, gentler world, and now it’s gone.”
- Moore even respected “creepy crawlies:” “Even those animals for whom I have no particular feeling—like snakes or alligators or any of the creepy crawly fellows. I still care very much about them and would never tolerate inhumane treatment to them.”
- She spoke out against Premarin, an estrogen drug whose creators cruelly raised female horses (and kept them pregnant) for their urine. The foals of these horses were often sent to slaughterhouses.
- She adopted several shelter dogs, horses, goats, and cats and encouraged others to adopt. Moore even co-founded Broadway Barks, an annual animal adoption event held in New York City.
Mary Tyler Moore will be remembered for a lot of things—her room-brightening smile and gender barrier-breaking capris are just a few of the wonderful reasons why we cherish her. We also fondly remember her for her dedication to the creatures who don’t have a voice. May we all have the courage to speak up for them with such grace.
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Photo: Tom via Flickr, PETA, Wikimedia Commons, m01229 via Flickr