March 30, 2009
by Jennifer Fearing
Photographer and HSUS spokesman Nigel Barker implored the
Canadian government to discontinue the seal hunt. © Long
The annual tragedy that is the Canadian seal hunt was never
far from the thoughts of presenters, honorees, and attendees
numbering nearly a thousand �at The 23rd annual Genesis
Awards, held in the International Ballroom of The Beverly
Hilton Hotel on Saturday, March 28. This year's gala and
awards ceremony were held in tribute to The Humane Society of
the United States'
One of the evening's special guests, Nigel Barker, internationally
acclaimed photographer and spokesman for The Humane Society of
the United States' ProtectSeals campaign, implored the
Canadian government to discontinue the hunt, then offered a
viable alternative. "My intention�and that of The HSUS," he
said, "isn't to point fingers; rather we hope the Canadian
government will consider the viable eco-tourism opportunity
that presents itself."
DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi were given top honors for
their collective efforts and support of Prop 2 in
California. © Long Photography
HSUS's annual Genesis Awards recognizes
artists, writers, and others in entertainment and the media
who contributed their time and talents over the past year to
raise awareness of the plight and suffering of animals.
Nominees from print, TV news, feature films, and narrative
television media received recognition and awards presented by
Hollywood stars before a celebratory crowd of appreciative
animal lovers and HSUS supporters.
This year's ceremony was only the second since the loss of
The Genesis Awards' founder
Gretchen Wyler, whose absence
was recognized throughout the evening.
Referred to last year by political satirist Bill Maher as
the "Liz Taylor and Jackie Onassis of the animal movement all
in one," Wyler's memory is honored in the form of The Wyler
Award, established two years ago to honor a celebrity who has
raised awareness of animal issues through the major media. The
first two Wyler Awards have gone to Sir Paul McCartney (in
2007) and actor Hayden Panettiere
president and CEO Wayne Pacelle with Clyde, from "Marley &
Me". © Long Photography
Wayne Pacelle , president and
CEO of The HSUS, presented this year's Wyler Award to talk
Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, actor
Portia de Rossi
, for their collective efforts
throughout the last year.
From their strong support of Proposition 2�the California
Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act�which included hosting
a million-dollar fundraiser for the campaign and discussing Prop 2 with Pacelle on "The
Ellen DeGeneres Show," �the pair also held a widely-covered
vegan wedding which provided the couple with an opportunity to
publicize to a broad audience their ethical decision to eschew
animal products in hopes of influencing public behavior.
After viewing videotaped congratulations from Sir Paul,
DeGeneres and de Rossi both spoke eloquently about their
journey toward more ethical living and the changes they've
been making in their lives to reduce animal suffering.
"People need to understand that animals are thinking,
feeling beings who have a right to a free life," DeGeneres
remarked while accepting her honor.
The cruelty endured by puppies in puppy mills, horses caught in the slaughter trade and victimized by the thoroughbred industry, and seal pups on Canadian ice floes dominated the evening's nominated video clips.
Sparks presented this year's Sid Caesar Comedy Award to
"The Simpsons." © Long Photography
Comedian Hal Sparks kicked things off with the Sid Caesar
Comedy Award, which this year went to "The Simpsons" for an
episode depicting Bart's experience with raising a calf in a
4-H program. In the show, when Bart discovers his calf's
slaughterhouse destiny, he joins with sister Lisa to save his
bovine friend from becoming a burger.
Sparks didn't miss an opportunity to comment on the seal
slaughter and the demand from fashionistas that drives it,
asking, "Who wears baby seals? My gosh, these people make
Cruella de Ville look like Ed Begley, Jr."
Celebrity presenters included Academy Award nominee James
Cromwell , "Bones" star Emily Deschanel, former Oakland Raider
Jarrod Cooper, and actor Jennifer Coolidge. "Big Love's"
Ginnifer Goodwin presented the award for Outstanding Feature
Film to the producers of "Bolt," a charming, animated tale of
a movie star dog who discovers the pleasures of real dog life,
along with the sad truth about
unwanted and abandoned cats and dogs.
Love's" Ginnifer Goodwin presented the award for best
feature film to the producers of "Bolt." © Long
"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's" Jorja Fox and actor Reid
Scott presented the Outstanding TV Newsmagazine - Network
award to "20/20" for chronicling the troubled history of
elephants in captivity and explaining why many experts believe
the world's largest mammal does not belong in a
circus or a zoo.
"Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," which won a Genesis Award
last year, won again this year in the Outstanding TV
Newsmagazine - �Cable category for a graphic and disturbing
report on the journey many young, healthy horses take from the
track, to the auction house, to foreign slaughterhouses, where
for human consumption
Television reality stars Matt Grant and Claudia Jordan
presented the award for Outstanding Unscripted Television
Series to the producers of the "30 Days" episode featuring
"George the Hunter" who moved in with Los Angeles animal
activists for a month, discovering the plight of animals
during that time and declaring himself a changed person by the
After "CSI's" Marg Helgenberger awarded "Grey's Anatomy"
with the Outstanding Dramatic Series award, Executive Producer
Mark Wilding gave a nod to actor and animal lover Katherine
Heigl for urging the storyline where the Grey's resident
pushes back against the use of live animals in medical
Comedian Carol Leifer (pictured with Lori Wolf) made light
of spay/neuter myths. © Long Photography
Genesis attendees were treated to special videos throughout
the night, including one featuring writer/comedian
Carol Leifer , who debunked
the myths associated with
spaying and neutering our
pets. She assured pet owners that neutering your dog would not
diminish his urge to buy a Porsche and hair plugs.
Heather Mills celebrated the European Union's decision to
ban the trade of dog and cat fur, and comedy legend Lily
Tomlin, reprising her hilarious Ernestine persona, prompted
giggles with her riff as the would-be
HSUS Hollywood office receptionist.
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" won the Outstanding Talk Show
award for shows shining a spotlight on Pennsylvania puppy
mills and engaging both sides of the Prop 2 debate regarding
the treatment of animals on America's
factory farms. "Alias" star
Michael Vartan and "Dancing with the Stars'" Carrie Ann Inaba
announced Oprah's win, edging out daytime doyennes Ellen
DeGeneres and Martha Stewart.
Malick presented the Brigitte Bardot International award.
© Long Photography
Brigitte Bardot's lifelong campaign to improve the plight
of animals worldwide is honored each year with an award given
in her name. This year, Wendie Malick presented the Brigitte
Bardot International award to previous Genesis Award-winning
filmmaker Karl Ammann for his stirring documentary about the
Asian trade in
exotic animals and their parts,
"The Mong Lah Connection."
The Outstanding TV Documentary award went to the film "Blinders,"
which exposed the reality of the New York City carriage horse
Comedienne Debra Skelton honored the print journalism
awardees. These included
USA Today, for a prodigious
array of articles by Sharon L. Peters spotlighting many
important companion animal issues;
Newsweek, for an
article by Sharon Begley, entitled "Extinction Trade," which
reveals the links between the poaching of endangered species
and militia and terrorist organizations;
for "The Good News Out of The Bad Newz
Kennels," by Jim Gorant, regarding the rehabilitation of
Michael Vick's dogs; and, in
the Brigitte Bardot International Print category, �the U.K.'s
Daily Mail, for Dr. Danny Penman's three bold,
passionate, and well-argued condemnations of three of the
worst forms of animal cruelty and exploitation�the Canadian
bullfighting, and wild
animals in circuses.
Finally, the Santa Barbara News Press received
Special Recognition from The Genesis Awards for an unrivalled
series of year-long, hard-hitting, and dogged editorials
calling attention to myriad local and national animal
The night was not just about praise for past efforts, but
also a calling to action in the year to come. "We see a nation
stirring on these issues," commented Pacelle. "Tonight, won't
you make a 365-day commitment to change? We can do better. We
are taking on the biggest abusers. The situation must change
Corey Feldman and his wife, Susie, at The 23rd Genesis
Awards. © Long Photography
Actor Corey Feldman and his wife, Susie, were joined on
stage by Clyde, the adorable but incorrigible yellow
Labrador who played Marley in the Genesis-nominated feature
film "Marley and Me." HSUS Hollywood office Senior Director
Beverly Kaskey, who was also the Executive Producer of the
event, closed the night by reminding everyone of Wyler's
mantra, that animals should have the right to "run if they
have legs, swim if they have fins and fly if they have wings."
View more 23rd Genesis Awards images on flickr.
Full List of Winners:
The Wyler Award
ELLEN DEGENERES & PORTIA DE ROSSI
GREY'S ANATOMY "Life During Wartime"
Sid Caesar Comedy Award
THE SIMPSONS � "Apocalypse Cow"
HANDY MANNY � "Manny's Mouse Traps"
TV Newsmagazine - National
20/20 � "Elephant PTSD"
TV Newsmagazine - Cable
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL � "Hidden Horses"
National News Feature
WORLD NEWS WITH CHARLES GIBSON "Monkey Business,"
"Person Of The Week," "Rescuing Racehorses," "Saving The
Rhinos," and wolf segment
Local News Series (a tie)
KGO-TV (Bay Area) "I-Team Investigation: Battery Cages"
& KLAS-TV 8 (Las Vegas) "Elephant Abuse: Life on the Road"
Local News Feature
KHOU-TV �Houston "Slaughtergate"
Unscripted Televison Series
30 DAYS � "Animal Rights"
Brigitte Bardot International
THE MONG LAH CONNECTION
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW � multiple shows
OUTSTANDING WRITTEN WORD:
Series of Newspaper Articles
USA TODAY multiple articles by Sharon L. Peters
NEWSWEEK "Extinction Trade" by Sharon Begley
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED "The Good News out of The Bad Newz Kennels"
by Jim Gorant
Brigitte Bardot Internaional - Print
DAILY MAIL (U.K.) multiple articles by Dr. Danny
SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS multiple editorials