Ian Somerhalder is known for his humanitarian efforts, as well as his acting abilities on The Vampire Diaries (TVD). In fact, the TVD star was recently honored at the Noble Awards, for activism in film, for his efforts to promote sustainability. The actor even started his own foundation to promote education, collaboration and empowerment with both individuals and assorted projects, in an effort to positively impact the earth and all of its creatures. Now the actor and his foundation, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), have recently joined forces with the No Voice No Choice campaign, which is against the use of performance animals and the prods, cages and handlers that come along with them.
The No Voice No Choice campaign was started by the organization Animals Asia. This campaign is a way to end the use of wild animals in performances, as well as to support and improve the welfare and health of those animals that are being held in captivity for entertainment purposes. The Animal Welfare Director for Animals Asia, David Neale, has stated that people are failing animals when they must perform for entertainment purposes anywhere in the world. While he has said that large strides have been made, it will not be over until these performances have been stopped worldwide.
The founder of Animals Asia, Jill Robinson, issued a statement regarding Somerhalder joining the No Voice No Choice campaign. Robinson acknowledged that the actor is a major voice in not only conservation efforts, but also in animal welfare. She also pointed out Somerhalder’s ability to reach out to so many of the younger generation with information on conservation and messages of compassion.
ISF also issued a statement regarding their involvement with the No Voice No Choice campaign. The message was about how individuals can be spectators to the beauty of nature without the need of a performance. As part of the statement, ISF said that, “We were all born with a ticket to the most phenomenal animal show there is: the natural wilderness of our planet.”
Along with the support of celebrities such as Somerhalder, the organization has the support of many other individuals. In fact, the Animals Asia organization currently has over 21,000 signatures as part of their pledge to help end the cruelties associated with animal performances. The pledge points out that animals do not make the choice to perform as entertainers. These animals also do not choose to be a part of an entertainment act in general. The overall point of the pledge is to agree not to watch these performances, and by doing so this will help to stop the acts.
Not only does the pledge showcase what the purpose of the No Voice No Choice campaign is, but it also addresses what goes on behind the scenes with the animals in question. Animals Asia points out that the animals are often malnourished, neglected and abused behind the scenes. They discuss the conditions these animals are forced to live in, and also the techniques required to get the animals to put on a show. The organization reminds people that these performances are often targeted at the youth and that animal cruelty is not a lesson we should be teaching the children.
Somerhalder is not the only star joining the No Voice No Choice campaign. Some of the other celebrities who are giving their support include, Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais and Peter Northcote. This is an ongoing effort to help fight the cruelties associated with performance animals.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by MelodyJSandoval – Flickr License