Animal advocates Ali Wentworth and Lorenzo Borghese talk about their commitment to the Humane Society and the importance of supporting this month's gala.
Ali Wentworth at a recent Humane Society gala.
“The first step towards being a compassionate person is being sensitive and caring towards animals,” says actress and animal advocate Ali Wentworth, who emcees this month’s To the Rescue! New York Gala, an event raising money for the Humane Society of the United States. Here Wentworth joins another animal advocate, entrepreneur (and Italian prince) Lorenzo Borghese, to discuss the gala, the crises currently facing the pet population, and what people can do to help.
How did you become involved with the Humane Society of the United States? Ali Wentworth: I have a friend on the board who asked me years ago to emcee an event [for the Humane Society]. I did and have been emceeing the past few years. Lorenzo Borghese: Because I have a product line [Royal Treatment] and started selling pet products, I researched what’s going on with the industry. The more I researched, the more shocked I was about how dogs and cats are treated in the United States.
Lorenzo, you worked on a campaign to help end puppy mills. Tell us more about that. LB: The HSUS asked if I’d be interested in doing an undercover story on puppy mills. We went to numerous puppy stores in the city, and all the dogs’ breeding documents were from puppy mill breeders. People go into stores and they feel like they’re rescuing the puppies, but what they don’t realize is [that by buying a dog in a pet store] they are funding very cruel industries.
Which HSUS issues most concern you? AW: Puppy mills and dog fighting are my two biggest. It’s this insensitivity toward animals that I have a real issue with.
Do you have any rescue pets in your life? AW: We rescued a puppy named Cooper this summer from an Arkansas kill shelter. Our other rescue is a dachshund named Daisy. LB: There are about 1.2 million dogs that are euthanized every year, and there are 2 million puppies that are bred in puppy mills each year. If people would stop buying dogs from puppy mills, the United States would be a no-kill nation.
Why should people become involved with the organization or attend the fundraiser? LB: Without galas like this, the Humane Society couldn’t keep doing what they’re doing. AW: My feeling is, even if you buy a table and fill it with friends, these are people who can effect change. Now they’re educated a little more about puppy mills or animal abuse, and that’s a great thing.
The Humane Society of the United States’s To the Rescue! New York Gala takes place on November 13 at Cipriani 42nd Street. 110 E. 42nd St.