Written by Ella White
Celebrities – they’re just like us, right? Okay, so that might not always ring true. But when it comes to loving their pets, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars really are relatable.
These are our top 15 celebs that love animals just as much as we do, and use their fortune to give back to the causes that mean the most to them. Before you delve into our list, some of the videos have some sad scenes and the odd naught word so proceed with caution…
Actress and long-time vegan Alicia Silverstone is so dedicated to her love of animals, she was even crowned PETA’s Sexiest Female Vegetarian in 2004.
As well as supporting a number of animal charities, including the African Wildlife Foundation, Animals Asia. Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, PETA, and The Humane Society, she also wrote a book, “The Kind Diet” to help promote a plant-based diet for animal lovers.
Alicia is outspoken about issues including animal testing, and also adopts abandoned pets and farm animals in need of a safe home.
One of Hollywood’s original animal activists, Betty White was a lifelong lover of animals and a vocal supporter and donor of charities including Farm Sanctuary, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Morris Animal Foundation, Onyx and Breezy Foundation, PAWS/LA, and Petco Foundation.
As well as adopting rescue animals, Betty sat on the board of Los Angeles Zoo for 50 years, advocating for the rights of animals and helping fund the zoo’s state of the art monkey and gorilla exhibits.
Gen Z poster child Billie Eilish knows what it’s about when it comes to animal activism. A vegan since her childhood years, she’s outspoken against the use of animal products in the fashion industry as well as in food.
Billie even managed to convince fashion label Oscar de la Renta to give up using fur for good in return for wearing one of their dresses to the 2021 Met Gala. A move so impressive that PETA crowned her their “Person of the Year”. Billie has rescue dogs and cats as pets including the Pit Bull ‘Shark’ who she adopted in 2020.
Ahead of the curve, Bryan Adams went vegan (and stayed that way) in the early 1990s. Since then the musician’s love of animals only developed further, with Bryan going on to work on PETA’s anti-fur campaign, and advocate for the Southern Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.
Bryan also supports Greenpeace, Mercy For Animals, and The Gorilla Organization, speaking out against all forms of animal exploitation and slaughter. Having spent his childhood growing up with dogs, he now has a number of his own and even had his brother’s Labrador, Bash, star in one of his music videos.
Many fans of pop icon and animal lover Cher might not know that she helped save the fate of an elephant named Kavaan, who spent 35 years in captivity in a Pakistani zoo. After his companion died, Kavaan spent 8 years alone, which resulted in him becoming stressed and depressed, as well as malnourished due to poor care.
To help Kavaan, Cher set up the organization Free the Wild, and worked with Four Paws to petition the Pakistani government to grant Kavaan’s move to a Cambodian sanctuary – she succeeded, and Kavaan now thrives in a Cambodian jungle where he has plenty of other elephant friends.
At home, Cher has owned a range of pets including a cat named Mr Big who she found under a truck while on tour in Detroit.
Advocating for animal rights since the 1950s, Doris Day dedicated her life and her money to helping animals. She even launched her own organization, Actors and Others for Animals, which aimed to protect animals against mistreatment during filming.
This later led to the development of the Doris Day Animal League, and the Doris Day Pet Foundation. The latter was founded to help find homes for abandoned and rescued pets – though Doris ended up taking many of them home herself.
TV host Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia De Rossi, donate to and actively support animal charities and organizations across the globe, as well as in the USA. Between them, they are beneficiaries of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Best Friends Animal Society, Farm Sanctuary, Halo Pet Foundation, PETA, Petco Foundation, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, SPCA, The Gentle Barn, and The Humane Society.
In 2018, they founded The Ellen Fund to support conversation projects to help endangered species. In 2021, the organization gave $1 million to support wild animals including gorillas, giraffes, and leopards. It has also funded a 12-acre campus for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda.
At home, Ellen and Portia own three rescue dogs, and three rescue cats.
Actress Gillian Anderson has long been known for her campaigning for women’s rights. But she’s also a fervent animal rights activist. She has even taken her campaigning to a governmental level, having pleaded with the European Parliament to end animal testing, the Indian Government to end animal toxicity testing, and the Canadian Government to end the country’s annual commercial seal hunt.
Her animal activism has won Gillian awards from PETA. In 2020, she adopted a pet Labrador called Stella.
A lifelong activist, Joaquin Phoenix has been speaking out and supporting animal charities for as long as he’s been famous. The vegan actor has used award ceremonies and other events to advocate for animal rights, including the time he called out animal issues in his speech at the Oscars.
But Joaquin isn’t all talk and no action. Though he has spoken out against factory farming and campaigned with PETA to ‘end speciesism’, he put his money where his mouth is when he worked with Farm Sanctuary to save a calf from being slaughtered. Joaquin also supports Animal Defenders International, HEART, In Defense of Animals, Mercy For Animals, and UNEP. He has two pet dogs, one of which he saved from euthanasia.
Leonardo DiCapro is one of the richest stars in Hollywood, and he uses that money for good. He fights for both animal rights and environmental issues, and was behind the popular documentary Cowspiracy and has spoken out in support of other vegan films including the 2022 documentary, Eating Our Way To Extinction.
Leo supports organizations including the African Wildlife Foundation, International Fund For Animal Welfare, Jane Goodall Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Onyx and Breezy Foundation, Save the Elephants, The Gorilla Organization, UNEP, WildAid, and WWF.
And if that impressive list wasn’t enough, he has even launched his own, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, in conjunction with Earth Alliance. His foundation supports wildlife through the fight against climate change. Leonardo owns two huskies and an adopted Sulcata tortoise.
Moby is one of the best known animal activists in show business. A vegan since 1987, the musician donated all the profits from the sale of his New York home, his music gear, and memorabilia to animal rights organizations and charities.
He is the founder of Little Pine, an LA vegan restaurant that hosts animal rights organizations. He is also a donor to the Animal Defenders International, Farm Sanctuary, Jane Goodall Institute Mercy For Animals, PETA, and The Humane Society.
Though he grew up with animals, including a kitten he found in a dumpster which inspired him to go vegan at age 10, Moby does not have any pets.
Model and actress Pamela Anderson has had a big impact on the way the world views animal activism. Her animal rights work with PETA was so effective, fashion house Prada had stopped using fur in its production line within a year of her campaign.
Animal lover Pamela supports a wide range of animal organizations including Compassion in World Farming, Cool Earth, Greenpeace Hauser Bears, Last Chance for Animals, Mercy For Animals, PETA, Save Me Trust, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and The Gentle Barn. In an effort to change global views on veganism, she produced the Netflix documentary The Game Changers, which profiled plant-based professional athletes.
Pamela has also owned five rescue dogs, including a one-eyed Pug and a service dog named Star.
An avid animal lover and actor, Patrick Stewart is especially fond of Pit Bulls, and fights to help change the breed’s reputation as aggressive and dangerous. He has worked with Precious Paws and the ASPCA in its 2017 National Dog Fighting Awareness Day campaign, with an aim to help promote awareness of the inhumane conditions that Bullies are often kept in.
Patrick and his wife also foster rescued Pit Bulls – with one of his dogs even starring in an episode of Star Trek: Picard.
The Beatles icon Sir Paul McCartney could be credited with making vegetarianism cool. He and his wife Linda owned a farm in the 1970s but, one day, Paul realized that he was ‘taking the lives’ of the little lambs frolicking in his field. And he’s been a dedicated veggie ever since.
This change of heart lead McCartney to work with a wide range of animal rights organizations over the past half-century, including the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Animal Defenders International, Cruelty Free International, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Greenpeace Humane Society International, International Rescue Committee, PETA, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, and TigerTime.
To this day, Linda McCartney’s range of vegetarian food is one of the most popular plant-based brands in the UK. And Paul has continued to write songs focused on the lives and rights of animals. Throughout his life, McCartney has owned a number of dogs and has long advocated for their rights.
Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais has used his online platform to speak out against animal cruelty for as long as he’s been using social media. A supporter of a wide range of global animal organizations, including Animal Defenders International, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, Cool Earth Cruelty Free International, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Dr. Hadwen Trust, Hauser Bears, Humane Society International, League Against Cruel Sports, PETA, Save Me Trust, TigerTime, Wildlife Aid Foundation, and World Animal Protection, his advocacy for animals is well documented.
Gervais has spoken out against wet markets, trophy hunting, eating animals, and other issues surrounding the exploitation of animals. In 2018, he was awarded The Humane Society International's Cecil Award for his fight against animal hunting – an issue on which he is especially outspoken online.
Gervais owns a cat called Pickles, who he adopted in 2020.