26th Genesis Awards

Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA, CVJ
Published: April 05, 2012
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Canine and Human Celebrities Rally for the Cause of Animal Welfare

Celebrities of the two and four-legged variety converged at the Beverly Hilton for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) 26th Genesis Awards ceremony. In this annual star studded, red carpet event, HSUS recognizes and pays tribute to the news and entertainment media that have raised public awareness of animal welfare issues over the past year.

Uggie, one of the stars from the 2012 Academy Award winning movie The Artist represented excellence in the four-legged celebrity category. This charming Jack Russell terrier put on quite a show, both on the red carpet and on stage, where he "mouthed off" the award for best Feature Film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with Genesis Awards host Carrie Ann Inaba from Dancing with the Stars.

The high profiles of the celebrities attending the Genesis Awards helps to further the public’s awareness of the various causes promoted by the HSUS.

Here are my highlights:

Vegan Shoes Help a Grammy Award Winner Shine on the Red Carpet

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Grammy award-winning singer Colbie Caillat spread her message of positivity by sharing her upbeat tune Brighter Than the Sun while demonstrating humane fashion in her red carpet vegan shoes, proving that she does indeed walk the walk. Caillat’s footwear choice nicely complemented our vegan dinner. Yum!

Hell’s Kitchen Star Gordon Ramsay Exposes Hellish Reality of Shark Slaughter

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When Hell’s Kitchen chef Gordon Ramsay uses his stardom to make positive changes in society, the world listens. Ramsay’s cause is reducing the numbers of shark that are being slaughtered specifically for their fins, which are used as the prime ingredient in the purportedly tasteless yet pricey shark fin soup. Ramsay has helped to expose the atrocities of this inhumane industry with his documentary, Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait, in which he motivated restaurants in London’s Chinatown to remove shark fin soup from their menus. Ramsay's documentary was awarded best TV Documentary.

HSUS's Wendie Malick Draws Attention to Wild Horse Cruelty

As the recognizable voice of the HSUS television commercials, Wendie Malick of Hot in Cleveland gave an impassioned plea to raise awareness of the U.S. government’s attempts to reduce the number of locations in which wild horses can roam free on our American plains. Videos of helicopters chasing wild horses into captive pens are both moving and disturbing. The HSUS is currently working to ensure that wild horses will remain free and are not captured and slaughtered.

NBC Reporter Inspires Viewers Worldwide with Her News Stories

Jill Rappaport of NBC’s The Today Show won the Morning News Show award for her reports, which included a unique project that teamed homeless men with dogs in Boston. Rappaport gave an inspiring speech for other pet positive media types like me. "If you love what you do you’ll never work another day in your life," said Rappaport, a sentiment that echoes my feelings on educating the public about pet health through my petMD Daily Vet column.

Orangutan Rescue Recognized for Award Winning Born to Be Wild 3D

Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas is a renowned scientist, author, and pioneer of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), which was featured in the winning Feature Documentary, Born to Be Wild 3D. The film documents the effects of deforestation on wildlife. Evidently, the harvesting of trees for palm oil is one of the driving forces behind the deforestation of the Indonesian island of Borneo, as well as the slaughter of orangutans. You can help reduce the world’s demand for palm oil by refusing to purchase products containing palm oil.

I attended a private affair with Dr. Galdikas in 2008 and have been continually inspired by her work. I hope to someday accompany her in her work with the OFI veterinary team.

KTLA Reporter and Producer Lu Parker Wins Local News Feature

Lu Parker undertakes and intensely researches animal welfare stories in order to shed light on issues that are usually not immediately known to the general public. Her reports on beagles used for product testing, a rescue organization housing abandoned horses, and potential allegations of abuse affecting the elephant star of Like Water for Elephants earned her the award for Local News Feature. Parker also heads up Leash Line News on Petsami (at whose table I sat with Petsami's creative director, Laura Nativo, pictured below with Uggie, the canine star from The Artist.).

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There were so may exciting events and appearances from this year’s HSUS Genesis Awards that I am already excited about next year's ceremony. You can be part of this year's action by watching the broadcast of the Awards Ceremony on Animal Planet, May 5 at 4:00 p.m. EST/PST and May 6 at 8:00 a.m. EST/PST.