'Game of Thrones' Star Peter Dinklage Fights Animal Cruelty
Fri, Jun 8
Margo Ann SullivanActor accepts role as National Spokesman for 2012 Walk for Animals.
As Tyrion Lannister on HBO's "Game of Thrones," Peter Dinklage scored victories and became the hero of the Battle of Blackwater. In real life, the actor has also not backed away from a fight as a champion for animal rights.
"I love animals and the way they are treated on factory farms is not okay with me," he said last week.
As Season 2 of the hit series concludes on HBO, Dinklage has accepted a new role as national spokesman for the 2012 Walk for Animals.
The Walk for Animals is Farm Sanctuary's biggest annual fundraiser, according to Meredith Turner, spokeswoman for the non-profit organization. Farm Sanctuary started the Walk for Animals at Watkins Glen, N.Y. in 1986, the same year the organization was born. Since then, the event has raised almost $2 million and grown so big, the "walk" has turned into a series of community festivals held between September 8 and Nov. 3.
It's still the only walk specifically to benefit farm animals.
Last year, thousands of people signed up to walk in 38 cities and towns across the U.S. and Canada. They raised $440,000, according to Jen Bates, the Walk for Farm Animals acting national manager.
"Our 2011 Walk for Farm Animals was Farm Sanctuary's most successful to date," Bates said, and the hope is the 2012 walk will do even better.
This year, at least 35 cities are holding walks, Turner said. More than 6,000 people are expected at the events, Bates added. The goal is to raise half a million dollars, she said.
About 80 percent of Farm Sanctuary's budget goes to rescue and shelter livestock and poultry, to educate the public about cruel practices at factory farms, and to lobby to make better laws to protect animals, according to Turner.
Most people think laws already protect animals and are unaware about the fact most animal cruelty laws exclude farm animals, Turner said.
Dinklage has made a video to promote the Walk for Animals at walkforfarmanimals.org, Turner said. In the video, he discusses the terrible treatment the animals suffer.
"I am outraged by animal cruelty whenever I see it," he says in the video.
Dinklage has been a vegetarian since age 16, Turner said. He will make time this summer to promote the walk, she said.
"Numerous studies have shown that cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and other farm animals possess the same intelligence and capacity for fear, pain, and joy as dogs and cats," Dinklage added in an interview, "yet the meat industry uses expensive ad campaigns and clever marketing to hide the reality that animals used for food are treated like unfeeling machinery. Fortunately, we can think for ourselves and challenge the status quo by making choices that don't hurt animals."
People who share his outrage should sign up for one of the walks, Turner suggested.
As for his character Tyrion's fate on "Game of Thrones," Dinklage didn't give the plot away. Neither did Turner.
Pictured: Peter Dinklage, star of HBO's "Game of Thrones" and 2012 National Spokesman for Farm Sanctuary's Walk for Animals. (Photo Courtesy of Farm Sanctuary)
How to Participate: Find out how to start your own team or sign up for a walk near your home at walkforfarmanimals.org.
Have you heard about a Walk for Animals in your area? How do you think celebrities can help fight animal cruelty? Tell us below!
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