by lindastcyr
Categories: Animals, Causes, Pop Culture
Tags: .
Photo: Cleveland Zoo

Betty White is a self-professed animal lover and also a zoophile. She enjoys going to zoo’s all over the U.S. and believes that activism for the animals at the zoo can come from within without destroying the benefits that a zoo has for people and the environment.

In her new book “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo” White explains her appreciation for the “good zoos” and says that protesting and marching are not enough to change a bad zoo to a good zoo.

She told the Huffington Post of her appalling first visit to the Los Angeles Zoo at Griffith Park and how it inspired her to make a change from within. She said, “I was really kind of appalled that a city like Los Angeles had such a poor zoo… I’ve never been a big demostrator from the outsided criticizing. I’d much rather get inside and help. So I started to work with the zoo and got hooked, and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since.”

White believes that zoos are meant to play an important part in protecting threatened animals. That conviction deepened, according to the HuffPo, when the last Javan rhino in Vietnam was killed for its horn. The former Golden Girl said, “Once we lose the last rhino in Vietnam, it ain’t coming back. Once they’re gone, you can’t restore that population.” The World Wildlife Fund reports that there are only 40 to 60 Javan rhinos left in Indonesia.

Organizations like PETA claim that zoos are a detriment to society and would like you to believe that all zoos are evil because a zoo or a wildlife park deprives wild animals the ability to satisfy their most basic needs.

White responds to the naysayers with logic asking where the animals are to go when the human population keeps increasing and taking their natural habitat away. She told the HuffPo, “that many people get very irate, say, ‘Animals should be in their natural habitat, they shouldn’t be in captivity.’ Well, in the meantime, we’ve taken much of that natural habitat away. It doesn’t exist anymore.”

It isn’t the first time that Miss White has criticized PETA for misinformation. In 2009, the Golden Girl explained her distrust for PETA and other militant bodies like it in an interview with a Canadian news service.

She said, “They play dirty. They not only give misinformation but disinformation . . . . They won’t listen, and it infuriates me. I’m sure they love animals but they should find out the facts.”

White had previously been aligned with PETA. She starred in an anti-fur PSA for the group, was vocal about a Vogue editor wearing fur to New York Fashion Week in 2006, and has worked as an animal activist for many other organizations although she claims she is “not an animal activist” and that “health and welfare” are her only interests in working with animals from within the zoo.

White’s book is available for purchase at all major books stores.

About lindastcyr

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. When she isn’t writing or raising her kids with her life partner, she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and bringing attention to human rights violations all over the world.

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  • herwin

    White is a typical so called “animal lover” ; loves dogs and pets, eats other animals, thinks its “educational” to keep animals in cages, and anyone who dares to protest against it like Peta are liars or extremists.
    At least she is anti fur.

  • Dave Rideough

    I think you’re just posturing, because it’s a simple enough thing to understand but you have it completely backwards. Betty White doesn’t call PETA liars and extremists because because of their ideological differences – she explained that she doesn’t like them specifically because they’re liars.

    She also made it clear that her interest in animal activism only goes as far as “health and welfare” of the animals. It’s perfectly possible to be a non-vegetarian and a zoo supporter and be an animal welfare activist at the same time. That’s animal welfare activism, as distinct from animal rights activism.

    • herwin

      as you say, she is an animal welfarist unlike Peta who are animal righties, so thats an ideological diference. she wants bigger cages for animals, PETA wants no cages. She cant grasp that, mus be an outrageous idea to her an most of her generation.
      anyway, thumbs u for her being anti fur !

  • Dave Rideough

    Um, lindastcyr? “Zoophile” doesn’t mean what you think it means….