Katie Cleary Interview
(Peace 4 Animals)
She was named one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” and was a finalist in the premier season of America’s Top Model. She is also an actress and an animal rights activist, founder of Peace 4 Animals, a non-profit animal welfare organization that protects all animals against harmful human interference around the globe through public awareness and education as well as rescuing, rehabilitating and finding homes for domestic animals. She is Katie Cleary.
Q - You have a jewelry line, a radio show (world animal news.com) and your animal rescue; I would imagine there is not much time left for modeling and acting.
A - It’s hard. It’s been a struggle, but I still audition. I went on and audition yesterday. I do commercials and some of the print ads. It’s pretty difficult to balance because we were working on so many animal issues. I wish I had more time, I wish I could duplicate myself over but right now it’s very busy, but, it’s a good thing.
Q - Which came first, your acting and modeling or your involvement with animal rights?
A - When I was about five years old I started rescuing animals in Chicago, with my mom. So, we would rescue kittens and try to find them a home, wild animals, baby birds that fall out of their nests in need to be rehabilitated. We’d rescue baby raccoons, squirrels; you name it, anything that’s native to Chicago. I always knew I wanted to be involved with animals in some way. I just didn’t know in what capacity. So, I started in entertainment at 12 in modeling and acting. I figured why not use it as a platform to raise awareness for those most important animal issues going on around the world. So, the first campaign I did at a very young age was a Tiger campaign and the funny thing is fast forward, now I’m 32 and the first campaign I did with my animal welfare organization, Peace 4 Animals is Tiger campaign. So it was an issue back then as much as it is an issue now, if not more so now because there are only 3500 tigers left in the world.
Q - Why did you start Peace 4 Animals? What can your organization do that PETA isn’t already doing?
A - Well, PETA is a little radical. We don’t attack people. I respect what PETA does, but we go about it in more of an ethical way. I would say we go about it more politically. What we’re doing is using the entertainment business as a platform. With PETA there an animal rights organization but they were never involved in entertainment so, I came from entertainment and have been in entertainment a long time. So, I’m still using that. I’m still using my show World Animal News every Thursday. I’m using the connections I have in entertainment to raise awareness for those issues and besides that I’m using the hosting and producing I’ve done to form a couple of different shows that I’m pitching to our network to raise awareness for these issues as well. So, it’s not like they were a model/actress and started PETA. PETA was started by animal activists and animal welfare people. Not many people I know have these big organizations that have been in entertainment for years and then decided to have their own organization. It’s kind of usually the opposite or a celebrity will join an organization that’s already established.
Q - When you say your organization is more politically orientated, do you mean you meet with legislators to try and get bills passed?
A - Exactly we went to the animal rights conference last year (2012) in D. C. and were looking to meet with them again about passing the No Child Left Inside Act. It’s an environmental/education act that would be implemented in grades K through high school. It’s a mandatory class that would teach children about our planet, its animals, endangered species, conservation, recycling, reducing, reusing and so forth. So, it would be a mandatory class. I think that could really shape the future of our world and our children could help and lend a hand to save the planet. So, that’s one thing were working on. Then, we’ve got the Tiger campaign were also working on. Then we’ve got the Tiger jewelry line and then the Piece 4 Animals T-shirt line where 20% of the proceeds will go to the Tiger conservation program in India that we’re working with Born Free USA.
Q - How many people in Hollywood besides yourself, Bob Barker and Betty White understand animal rights?
A - It’s interesting I feel it’s becoming more mainstream. I feel with social media different celebrities are getting involved especially with world animal news and the show were looking to pitch and documentaries like Blackfish and Give Me Shelter and The Cove. I feel it’s really mainstreaming a lot more than it would have maybe 10 years ago. So, I think we’re in a critical point in history where it’s going to go either one of two ways. It’s either we look back in history books and story books and say wow! There was Tigers there was Lyons. It can go that way or we can save them or it can go the opposite way and they can become extinct. I think more people know it’s so crucial, the timing right now that we must do something or we lose those animals. We have to do something now because it’s such a time sensitive issue, especially with what’s happened with Rhinos in Africa and the Tigers are one of the most endangered right now. Tigers and Rhinos.
Q - And what beautiful animals Tigers are. You’re talking about Siberian tigers?
A - Well the Bengal tiger in India there’s, 500 left. The Siberian tiger I think there might be less than 1500. There’s more Tigers in captivity than there are in the wild which is so sad. There’s more Tigers in Texas essentially then in the whole world. It’s heartbreaking that people could think it’s okay to hurt these animals for their teeth, their claws, medicinal medicine that doesn’t really work. They use their blood for wine. They sell their pelts on the black market. It’s just horrible what’s happening. The reason I’m pushing right now is to make change and utilize the entertainment business not in a selfish way but in a way that we can give back and actually be the voices for these animals on a larger platform.
Q - We need a lot more people in the world like you.
A - Thank you.
Q - Kathleen Parker, a columnist for the Washington Post wrote an article recently titled The Way We Treat Animals say a lot about who we are. In the column she writes about representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa who has an amendment that would pre-empt state and local laws governing food production and other animal related industries. He supports dogfighting and thinks children should be able to watch it. What do you do about a guy like this?
A - What? I think he should be out of office. I think he’s an idiot. The fact that we share the planet with people like that scares me. I talk about it all the time on world animal news. I don’t know. These people are coming from. I don’t know how well educated they are on these issues but, these people shouldn’t be able to have a position like the man you’re talking about. The wrong people are in office these are the people who are hurting animal welfare organizations and hurting people as well. Were all connected. If people were educated and they knew the issues and they educated each other and their children. We wouldn’t be in the position we are in right now where were going to be losing a lot of those animals in the next couple of years. I mean, extinction is forever. So, it’s something we really need to start a dialogue on and start talking about on a social level. I know the government is trying to get involved but you can’t really count on the government to fix anything. We got to do it ourselves.
Q - As I said before we need more people like you.
A - Thank you. Well I’m trying to do what I can. I’m only one person but I feel like if that’s your passion you only have such a short time on this planet, why not go for it?
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