"Animals should have the right to swim if they have fins, run if they have legs, and fly if they have wings."
Gretchen Wyler passed away yesterday. A famous actor and dancer in her younger years, Wyler went on to become the first woman to serve on the board of the ASPCA and as vice chair of the Fund for Animals. In 1986, Wyler founded the Genesis Awards, which has since become part of The Humane Society of the United States. The Genesis Awards is an annual star-studded Beverly Hills awards show that honors members of the media and entertainment industry for portraying a positive take on animal protection issues and shining the spotlight on animal abuse.
I had the honor of meeting Wyler and attending the Genesis Awards twice (the picture is from 2005). Those were the only times that a student award was given out, and I was the commendee in 2004 and the winner in 2005. Wyler was an extremely warm, personable, and devoted animal defender. Her brainchild, the Genesis Awards, operates under the slogan "Cruelty Can't Stand the Spotlight," and for me, those have been words to live by. The Genesis Awards is a fantastic way of encouraging the media to expose the hideous exploitation of animals, and Wyler's legacy will live on through the Genesis Awards.