News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > April '08
Genesis Awards Protested
Apr 4, 2008
HSUS Genesis Awards Protested

Note from WAR: For many years the Genesis Awards were hosted by a wonderful celebrity animal advocate, Gretchen Wyler and her organization The Ark Trust. Gretchen has since passed away and the awards have been gobbled up, like so many other good organizations and events, by the Humane Society of the United States.

The first article makes reference to a "radical animal rights group" that protested and attempted to disrupt the festivities. No mention was made about why the animal rights protesters would have an issue with an animal advocacy event. Subsequently, a letter of protest, written by a Genesis Awards Committee member, Libra Max, was made public which may shed some light on the 'bone of contention'.

Please read what is posted below, especially Libra Max's letter to the Genesis Committee.

Celebrities Stand Up for Animals
Hollywood Shows the Love at the Genesis Awards

A radical animal rights group attempted to disrupt the Humane Society of the U.S.'s Genesis Awards, held Saturday, March 29, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, claiming that Los Angeles is the country's number one puppy killer because our pounds euthanize unwanted animals.

The foiled protest (the dozen or so protesters were instantly escorted off the property) seemed a tad ironic considering the award show was honoring news and entertainment media for raising public awareness of animal issues.

To read the rest of the story:

Libra Max Protests Honoring of Puck at Genesis Awards

Libra Max, whom I consider a friend, shared a letter she wrote to her fellow members of the Genesis Awards Committee. The backstory, as you may know by now, is that Wolfgang Puck was honored at the event last Saturday evening in Los Angeles. She didn't think that was a good idea, but she is just one person on the committee. I asked her if I could post her letter, and she gave me permission.

My dear friends and fellow activists,

I find myself in the painful position of composing a letter to my own community, my compatriots, the few fellow humans with whom I have felt a kinship in our unified commitment to the animals. I am writing with a self-consciousness that I am breaking with code by expressing something I know many of us who come to The Genesis Awards are feeling, but no one wants to openly say.

I am writing to express the sadness I felt upon opening my Genesis invitation and seeing �Special Recognition, Wolfgang Puck.� My heart hurt then and still does. My conscience simply will not allow me to attend an evening that both approves of the use of animals for food by promoting Puck, while claiming to work against cruelty. It is more than misleading and confusing; it is hypocrisy and an unconscionable betrayal of the animals for whom we had promised to stand.

I do welcome pluralism within our movement, but this has gone beyond diversity among activist groups; we are now in collusion with the meat industry. I do not believe that spotlighting Puck in a celebratory way falls into even the broadest definition of reform or welfare. Some might argue that a �thank you� to Puck for removing foie gras and crated veal from his menu was appropriate. However, to recognize him at an animal event two years in a row, and to prominently feature him on the Genesis invitation in a manner that gives the distinct impression that he is the singular guest of note, is not only inappropriate, it sends a profoundly toxic message to the less informed people who come to Genesis with an authentic desire to help the animals.

Honoring Puck sets a potentially malignant precedent with the influential, moneyed, and media attendees like Anderson Cooper: Is Puck the face of our movement? Whether or not Puck will be in attendance is immaterial; the message is being sent.

Puck�s new restaurant is called 'CUT.' Does this celebration of pain sound like it comes from someone who cares about animals? Or just a savvy business person who has removed two of the most egregious forms of cruelty from his menu, only to replace this cruelty with a higher volume in sales of �humanely raised� animal parts. He has used his relationship with HSUS as a successful marketing ploy to increase diminishing veal sales. According to the New York Times, his �humane� veal schnitzel is the third most popular item on his menu and what used to be considered a taboo food item is newly chic and skyrocketing in sales since receiving the "humane" stamp of approval. What are we doing? Why are we doing PR for Puck? He was thanked last year. Any further recognition or dealings should remain in the boardroom, not at Genesis. No matter how he is cloaked in celebrity, he is a person who makes his living by causing suffering. There is no way around this truth.

We are far more forgiving of the food animal abuser than we would be of those who inflict torture upon dogs, cats, or mink, for example. Can we imagine featuring Blackglama Mink at Genesis if the mink were �cage free� before electrocution? Each one of the millions of cows, pigs, chickens, and baby calves that Puck serves up had once valued their lives the way we value our own. They were to themselves, and to their family members, beings of great importance who believed with absolute certainty that their lives were worth living.

I hope for us all to do better, mostly myself, which is the very reason I felt I had to write to all of you on the eve of Genesis. I have to live the kind of world I want to see and my activism and my life must be a daily reflection of that vision. I hope for us all to more critically examine the consequences of our actions and how our public alignments impact thinking in the world. We are powerful, more than we know, and so we must remain vigilant not to tacitly condone abuse and killing by promulgating the �humanely raised� myth. It only reinforces the thinking that animals are mere pieces of property and helps the meat and dairy industry to sell more pain. If we remain in collusion with those who believe the animals don't matter, well, the animals will never matter.

My wish for our movement is to raise ourselves to a place of integrity and truth telling and to imagine what we would most desperately hope for if we were forced to rely on someone else to fight for our lives. We owe this to the animals. We are all they have.

I write to you with respect and in kinship.

Libra Max

Genesis Awards Committee

If you're ever positioned as an insider and a decision is made or an action is taken that you disagree with, it doesn't have to end there. All is not lost. You can send a letter of protest. You can boycott an event and let the people involved in the event know exactly why you're not there. You can't change the past, but you can have a hand in shaping a future that looks different from the past, by honoring your beliefs in the present. In each moment. 

For more info contact Win Animal Rights at:
Call: 646.267.9934 or visit the WAR website at:

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