This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on Pet360.com as Model Katie Cleary Founds PEACE 4 Animals to Save Endangered Species.
Model Katie Cleary Founds PEACE 4 Animals to Save Endangered SpeciesHaving grown up as a child (or more like young adult) of popular culture, I certainly spent my time viewing some of the first reality shows in the late 90s and early 2000s. One of the first shows that I actually admit to watching was America's Next Top Model (ANTM), which had just the right elements of high drama, character development, and fashionable stylings. Having missed the first few episodes of ANTM during season one, I gradually became familiar with finalist and Chicago-nativeKatie Cleary.
Since her ANTM finalist days, Katie’s been a busy lady! She was named one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People”, worked has as an actress in television and film, and founded the philanthropic foundation PEACE 4 Animals. She can now expand further on her impressive resume, as Cleary was executive producer of Give Me Shelter; winner of Best Documentary Short at the 2013 Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood.
Cleary is also designing a jewelry line to benefit endangered tigers and has challenged Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods grocery stores to cease selling the palm oil (as production of palm oil endangers orangutan habitats)
As a fellow animal welfare advocate, I was psyched to be given the opportunity to interview Cleary.
Patrick Mahaney, VMD: What was your inspiration to found PEACE 4 Animals?
Katie Cleary: Something has to be done to save endangered species before they become extinct. I have always wanted to create a voice for the voiceless. My hero is Jane Goodall and I support her organization and wanted to create my own organization so that I could contribute and raise awareness for animal welfare around the world. I think if everyone woke up each day and answered the question, “What can I do today to make the world a better place?” – the world would indeed change positively for the better.
Mahaney: Approximately how many and what kinds of animals has PEACE 4 ANIMALS helped?
Cleary: I partnered with the Born Free Foundation to help Tigers in India and the California Wildlife Center to help rescue birds, ducks, squirrels, sea lions, mountain lions, etc. I also produced my own charity events such as “Diamonds not Fur” and “Stars 4 Stripes” two years in a row to help pass the "Fur Free” bill in West Hollywood and to raise money for tiger preservation in the Satpuda region of India. We have a campaign called Palms Off Palm Oil to save orangutans and their rainforest homes from extinction in Indonesia. My organization supports all animals large and small, but we try to focus on one particular animal campaign per year. This past year has been tigers.
Mahaney: Are PEACE 4 ANIMALS efforts particular to the Los Angeles area or are there other parts of California or the country that benefit?
Cleary: Peace 4 Animals helps organizations all over the world. From local sanctuaries and organizations like the California Wildlife Center, Shambala Preserve and the Wildlife Waystation all the way to the Satpuda Tiger Conservation Program in India, to the de-forested palm oil plantations displacing orangutans in Indonesia. With the internet and social media and the power of Hollywood, there really is no place too far to help.
Mahaney: How does PEACE 4 ANIMALS work to stop the ”underground trade of wild animals, puppy mills, poaching, and animal abuse and neglect?”
Cleary: I have personally held many charitable events to create awareness and raise money. I have also been involved in visiting grade schools all around California to take them on field trips to shelters and sanctuaries and to bring awareness to the ethical treatment of all animals. I’m even working to pass a bill in Congress called "The No Child Left Inside Act" to make animal and environment issues a regular part of the classroom curriculum in the United States.
Mahaney: If we missed the screening of GIVE ME SHELTER, can it be viewed elsewhere?
Cleary: Virgil Entertainment is distributing the film and will be in digital release later this year. Copies of the movie will also be available for purchase on the website peace4animals.com in the near future. We will also have additional box office screenings at some point this year. More to come for sure!
Mahaney: When and where will your jewelry line be available for purchase? Is there a particular tiger rescue that will benefit from the sales and promotion?
Cleary: I partnered with a good friend Shelly Litvak who is an amazing jewelry designer. Our first project is a tiger pendant in either silver, copper or crystal. 20% of proceeds go toward the Satpuda Tiger Conservation Project in India. They are available for purchase on my website peace4animals.com. There are less than 3,500 wild tigers left in the world and if we don’t do something to stop poaching, they will be extinct in just a few short years.
Mahaney: I’m aware of the issues surrounding rainforest clearing to collect palm oil, as I’ve worked some with Birute Galdikas of the Orangutan Foundation International. What has been the response so far from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Ralphs regarding the cessation of palm oil sales? Does this include not selling products that contain palm oil in addition to the sales of actual palm oil?
Cleary: There is a petition currently pending regarding these stores. I reached out to representatives from them all directly but have not had any interest from anyone to have a conversation on the issue or to defend their practices. All we can really do is decrease the demand for products with palm oil by refusing to purchase products containing palm oil. If there’s no demand, there will be no supply!
Mahaney: What are the stories behind your of 4 dogs and 2 cats? How are their overall health statuses?
Cleary: Each dog and cat I have rescued has their own unique story. There’s Lucky, a Chi mix, that was lying in the middle of the road with his femur broken who I rescued, he is definitely my most sweet and cuddly dog. My heart belongs to Charlie, an Australian Shepard mix I adopted from the Pasadena shelter. He was very shy timid in his cage, but now is my little angel. Butch is a German Shepard mix and is our little old grandpa. He likes to make sure all the rest of the dogs behave. I have 3 cats that were all rescued, flea-ridden, malnourished and now love to wrestle with the dogs. I even have 3 doves that I rescued from the street, and now they are hatching baby doves. All my animals are well adjusted and healthy now. The most recent addition is Wolfie, a Siberian Husky, we think part wolf. He is the youngest and most wild. I put him through 3 months of training with an expert and he has calmed down a bit, but Husky's always have so much energy and need to have enough space to run and be out in the open. All our animals sleep together and get along great!
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