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Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Gunn Named PETA's 2009 People Of The Year

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Can’t say we’re surprised.

Ellen DeGeneres has capped off a banner year for recognition of her new vegan diet with PETA’s prestigious “Woman of the Year” award. In the men’s category, Project Runway’s Tim Gunn took home the honor.

“Tim Gunn and Ellen DeGeneres show us that one person really can make a difference in the world by rejecting cruel deeds in favor of compassionate acts,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “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.”

Gunn’s popular reality television series Project Runway is completely fur-free and he recently narrated a video for PETA detailing the abuses suffered by animals killed in the name of fashion.

As for Ellen, well there’s plenty to say. Since declaring that she would be joining wife Portia de Rossi in going vegan and supporting animal rights, she’s been a force in drawing attention the scene. The couple also this year won the HSUS Wyler Award for their leadership in making news on behalf of animals.

We’d be remiss, however, if we didn’t mention one big “but” to all the praise DeGeneres has received. Since Jan ’09, she’s been the face of Covergirl cosmetics, one of the largest companies conducting animal testing in the United States. It’s incredibly wonderful that she’s helped raise the level on animal rights awareness and support, but we think one New Year’s resolution for ’10 would be to drop this campaign. That, or work with Covergirl’s parent company P&G, to phase out animal testing completely. Enough of this “We’ve discontinued animal testing on 80% of our products” BS.

No number but 100% should sit well with DeGeneres while she collects these awards.

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