Everyone already knows that Bob Barker was the famed host of "The Price Is Right," the longest-running game show in North American television history, from 1972 to 2007. But did you know that he's also an outspoken animal rights activist?
Encouraged by his wife Dorothy Jo, Barker began promoting animal rights and became a vegetarian in 1979. When she passed away in 1981, he became even more serious about animal rights so that he could keep doing something his wife had felt passionately about. He eventually began ending every episode of the "The Price Is Right" with "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered." When he retired in 2007, his replacement Drew Carey continued the tradition, and various other game show hosts also eventually followed Barker's lead in promoting animal rights on air.
Take a peek at these factoids to learn just how much Barker loves animals!
Barker donated $1 million to the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary when he founds out that only 10 of the 110 chimps formerly used in research at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana were to be retired while the rest would be sent to a lab in Texas. Thanks to him and other donators, all the chimps now live in Chimp Haven where they can relax and play for the rest of their days.
Bob Barker guest-starred on the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful," where he beat up the character Wyatt for calling animal lovers "wackos." THE NERVE! Barker even throws in his signature line about getting pets spayed and neutered, but quickly loses his patience when he realizes that Wyatt will never be a friend to the animals. Watching Barker pop this guy a few good ones is actually quite hilarious.
Believing zoos to be too small and confined for larger animals, Barker paid nearly $1 million to have three elephants transferred from a Canadian zoo to PAWS sanctuary in Northern California. The three elephants joined eight others living in the 2,000 acre compound among other rescued animals.
After retiring from TV in 2007, Barker donated $2.5 million to help renovate an office for animal rights organization PETA in Los Angeles. They opened the Bob Barker Building on Sunset Boulevard in 2012. One of the rooms in the building was named after another famous animal supporter best known for her role on "Baywatch," Pamela Anderson. Looks like Barker is in good company!
In 2010 Barker donated $5 million to the ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd to stop an illegal fleet of Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Named after the game show host himself, the Bob Barker ship was joined by two others, including one named after the famous Aussie crocodile expert Steve Irwin. Their goal was to bankrupt the whaling industry by cutting whale kill quotas in half.
See also: 13 Beauty Companies That Are Animal Cruelty Free
Barker donated about $150,000 to transport 25 abused circus lions from Bolivia to a wild animal sanctuary in Colorado. Living in tiny cages all their lives, the lions now have 320 acres of prairie land to roam among other rescued tigers, bears and wolves. An indoor lion den was even built to keep them warm through the winter!
In 2009, Barker supported the University of Virginia with a $1 million donation to start an animal law program, but then in 2012, Barker wrote a letter to the university's president asking that their medical program stop using three cats as part of their intubation training. He called the practice of repeatedly sticking the tubes down the cat's throats outdated and cruel. We hope the university listened and started using high-tech simulators instead!
When a wildlife rescue in Texas asked for $5,000 to purchase an avian ventilator, they were in for a big surprise when Barker donated $250,000 instead. Turns out he did a little research and heard nothing but praise about the organization and thought they could use the money. Does this man's generosity have no end?
Outraged by the cruel pigeon shoots taking place in Pennsylvania, Barker penned letters to the state's officials asking them to stop because "such heartless cruelty and careless behavior toward animals leads down a very dangerous path.” According to the animal advocacy group SHARK, 22,000 pigeons are used ever year and only a very small percentage survive. A majority of the birds are not killed outright and either die slowly from their wounds or are horrifically executed by the pigeon shooters themselves.
Over the years Bob Barker has funded various law schools to help them create animal law programs. In 2008, he gave his first $1 million donation to his alma mater, Drury University. Since then he has given generous donations to at least eight other schools, which you can see here.
See also: 10 Celeb Pets So Famous They're Celebs Themselves
At the age 91, Barker still has plenty of energy to shame Foster Farms for its cruelty towards animals. After seeing a horrific video of the poultry producer's handling of live chickens, Barker announced that the American Humane Association, which had given Foster Farms its first ever "American Humane Certified" seal of approval and monitors the treatment of animal performers used in TV and movies, was out of his will. They must be really careless in their treatment of animals!
Every member of Congress was shown a video from Bob Barker as they decided on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) budget. In the video, Barker asks them to stop funding the torture of baby monkeys as they're ripped from their mothers and subjected to experiments eliciting fear, anxiety and depression. Barker said that the experiments have never helped with the treatment of human mental illnesses and are costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The man does make a rather convincing argument!
In 2009, Barker donated an additional $1 million to Drury University to create a professorship on animal rights that led to a full undergraduate degree program. This was the nation's first undergraduate program in animal rights, and the new professorship was named after his late wife Dorothy Jo.
Barker said he became a vegetarian out of concern for animals but later realized that forgoing meat has a few additional perks. By eating healthy and exercising, he says he has much more energy and feels better all around. We're glad he became a vegetarian because without that extra energy it would be difficult for him to help out all of his animal friends! The man is 91 years old, after all!
In 2012, Bob Barker's advocacy for animals was finally recognized! The Animal Defenders International group honored him with its Lord Houghton Award for all the great work he's done to protect countless different species. What lucky animal will he set his sights on next?