Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres named PETA’s people of the year for 2009


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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has named Tim Gunn and Ellen DeGeneres its Man and Woman of the Year for their animal-friendly stances on issues like veganism and fur in fashion.

Gunn, whose hit show ‘Project Runway’ is fur-free, is so emphatic about his anti-fur stance that he narrated a video for PETA detailing the abuses suffered by animals killed in the name of fashion. DeGeneres -- who with wife Portia de Rossi received the Humane Society of the United States’ Wyler Award earlier this year for their efforts on behalf of last year’s Proposition 2 ballot initiative -- has used her popular talk show as a platform to discuss issues like factory farming and veganism since giving up animal products in 2008.


The group’s people of the year ‘show us that one person really can make a difference in the world by rejecting cruel deeds in favor of compassionate acts,’ PETA co-founder and president Ingrid Newkirk said. ‘Their message that animals must be treated kindly and respectfully has reached scores of people, and many of them have changed their buying habits, all because Gunn and DeGeneres spoke up for the voiceless.’

Previous PETA people of the year include Oprah Winfrey, who highlighted puppy mills, factory farms and a vegan diet on her talk show, and West Virginia senator Robert Byrd, who has used his political position to draw attention to issues like dog fighting and humane slaughter legislation.

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Tim Gunn photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times. Ellen DeGeneres photo: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press