It’s no secret that Ian Somerhalder is an animal and environmental activist. He is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in and say exactly how he feels. In an interview with PEOPLE, “The Vampire Diaries” actor revealed his true beliefs about the importance of animals.
As we’ve reported in the past, Somerhalder is planning to build an animal sanctuary with help from the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. This isn’t your ordinary sanctuary, as it will use animal kindness to help bullying teens.
“We cannot progress as a society, as a people, if we lack compassion,” he said. “[This place] is not only protecting animals, but allowing kids to come from all over the country, hopefully all over the world and showing them compassion with these animals that have also been abandoned, also have behavioral issues and have been ostracized.”
Somerhalder has become very popular since starring on “The Vampire Diaries,” especially among younger fans. By aiding young people and animals, he believes that not only can he better the planet, but also society.
“I know animals extremely well and I know young people extremely well,” he noted. “Youth empowerment is the only way that you and I are going to get old and be okay, and I mean that. I live my life by it.”
His proposed animal sanctuary will be built in his home state of Louisiana, which holds a deep place in his heart.
“It’s one of the most beautiful, delicate ecosystems in the world,” Somerhalder said. “That propelled me in my life to always go out into the world understanding that compassion and preservation of our wildlife and our natural environment is absolutely imperative. Animals are our companions in life, and without them, the world would suck.”
Repeatedly, Somerhalder has been recognized for his animal empathy. From rescuing three cats to receiving the United States Humane Society’s Wyler Award, Somerhalder continues to inspire people. He truly feels animals are needed in the world.
“My life ultimately would not work without all these little creatures that crawl around in the night and snuggle up next to me,” he revealed. “They literally make my world a better place. I can’t imagine my life without them, and when taking care of them and having them take care of you, it’s such a symbiosis. When you really live with pets, you really see how incredibly emotionally evolved they are.”
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