The Price Is Right for Animal Rights
Whenever we hear the phrase "Come on down!" it is impossible not to think of Bob Barker. Host of the famous TV game show The Price Is Right for 28 years, he has won a multitude of awards as Best Host and even obtained the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Daytime Television. What we don't know is that, apart from being one of the regular faces of daytime TV, Bob Barker is also an animal lover. A man who lives by his principles, he eventually became an animal rights activist and has been a vegetarian since 1979.
Not all animal lovers become activists though and Bob Barker joins the select few who choose to speak for our animal friends. In 1999, he was invited to speak to a group of congressmen in Washington, D.C. regarding Bill HR2929 or the "Captive Elephant Act", a public safety bill which aims to prevent injuries, deaths and personal property damage caused by rampaging elephants who have become dangerous due to their training and confinement. This legislation prohibits the use of elephants in traveling shows, circuses, and as rides. Before he could address the congressmen, however, Bob was rushed to the George Washington University Hospital due to a blockage in his left carotid artery and underwent surgery.
Instead of crying over spilled milk, he saw the silver lining in the situation. "There was so much media attention to my illness that it really worked out better than a public relations representative could have planned," Bob says. He adds, "The bill, as a result, got far more publicity than we ever could have hoped for. In fact, one friend of mine said that I had done a lot more for elephants flat on my back than I could have ever done on my feet. And that?s probably true."
In his now defunct but popular game show, Bob's animal rights activism still shows in a more subtle manner - the show does not give away fur coats or anything made of leather; if you win a trip to Spain, don't expect to watch any bullfights. Aside from this, the show occasionally highlights an animal from a shelter. Bob says, "Once a week we?ll have an animal on the show in some sort of setting that came from a shelter. I will mention that if you don?t live out here, just go to the shelter near your home and you?ll find a fine friend."
Taking his love for animals a step further, he founded the DJ & T Foundation for his wife and mother who share his penchant for animals. This foundation helps free and low-cost spay/neuter clinics and animal rights organizations all over the U.S. through financial grants.
The veteran TV personality has had a love affair with animals ever since he was young. "I loved animals then, I love animals now... and I always shall. Not just dogs and cats but everything," says Bob. He has such a deep compassion for animals that when asked to say a few profound words upon his receipt of his Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award he says, "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered."
Just last February, Bob gave $1 million to his alma mater, Drury University, as a grant for its new program called the "Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights". Bob Barker may have retired from daytime TV but his fight for animal rights is far from over.