Danny Moss accepts the Genesis Award for Blinders.
The prestigious awards are like the film world's Academy Awards but for animal issues. Started by actress and activist Gretchen Wyler of the Arc Trust in the 1980s, the awards are now run by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The Genesis Awards recognizes artists, writers, and others in entertainment and the media who contributed their time and talents over the past year to raise awareness of the plight and suffering of animals. Nominees from print, TV news, feature films, and narrative television media received recognition and awards presented by Hollywood stars before a celebratory crowd of appreciative animal lovers and HSUS supporters.
The audience cheered as diretory Donny Moss accepted the award for Blinders. He explained that as the audience attended the ceremony, "a couple hundred horses are stuffed into small cells in warehouse buildings in midtown Manhattan, and they need our help. Lucky for them, a group of selfless activists will wake up tomorrow morning in New York and protest this industry in the streets. I'd like to thank these activists, with whom I share this award.
"I was so surprised when people started cheering in response to my comments about the activists because the other acceptance speeches did not elicit that sort of reaction. This issue really struck a chord with people at the awards ceremony."
This year's ceremony was only the second since the loss of The Genesis Awards' founder Gretchen Wyler, whose absence was recognized throughout the evening.
Referred to last year by political satirist Bill Maher as the "Liz Taylor and Jackie Onassis of the animal movement all in one," Wyler's memory is honored in the form of The Wyler Award, established two years ago to honor a celebrity who has raised awareness of animal issues through the major media. The first two Wyler Awards have gone to Sir Paul McCartney (in 2007) and actor Hayden Panettiere last year.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, presented this year's Wyler Award to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, actor Portia de Rossi, for their collective efforts throughout the last year.
From their strong support of Proposition 2 - the California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act - which included hosting a million-dollar fundraiser for the campaign and discussing Prop 2 with Pacelle on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," - the pair also held a widely-covered vegan wedding which provided the couple with an opportunity to publicize to a broad audience their ethical decision to eschew animal products in hopes of influencing public behavior.
The cruelty endured by puppies in puppy mills, horses caught in the slaughter trade and victimized by the thoroughbred industry, and seal pups on Canadian ice floes dominated the evening's nominated video clips.