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From 22 May 2005 Issue

The Genesis Awards
By Greg Lawson & Jennifer J. Swans
ParkStRanger@aol.com & JJswans@aol.com

The Nineteenth Annual Genesis Awards was held in Beverly Hills, California on March 19, and was televised as a two-hour special last weekend on the Animal Planet. Every year, the Genesis Awards honors members of the major news and entertainment media for producing exceptional works which increase awareness of animal issues.

The first Genesis Awards presentation in 1986, was created by actress Gretchen Wyler and sponsored by The Fund for Animals. That first annual event was a luncheon drawing only 140 attendees. It has grown into a large gala with more than 1,000 guests.

In 1991, Wyler founded The Ark Trust, which continued to present the Awards. In August 2002, The Art Trust joined with The Humane Society of the United States. Wyler, now Vice President of the HSUS Hollywood Office, continues to act as Chairperson for the Genesis Awards.

Film and TV celebrity presenters this year included Chris Ameruoso, Ed Asner, Julia Barr, Lake Bell, Linda Blair, Bill Brochtrup, Stockard Channing, James Cromwell, Will Estes, Miguel Ferrer, Tippi Hedren, Angus T. Jones, Bill Maher, Wendie Malick, Carl Reiner, Eric Roberts, Sara Rue, Nicollette Sheridan, Alicia Silverstone, Steve Valentine, Sofia Vassilieva, Sela Ward, Persia White and Debra Wilson.

Here are the awards which were given at this year's event:

Real Sports, an HBO show starring Bryant Gumble, won for their coverage of the greyhound racing industry in "Dog Fears." It focused on what happens to the dogs, whose track wins can bring in as much as $200,000, after they can no longer compete. It includes footage of both euthanasia by injection, and an interview with the man who was found to have thousands of dogs buried in his yard after being paid $10 a piece to kill them with a gunshot. It also focuses on rescues that are swamped with more dogs needing homes than they can possibly find homes for. The comment was made that these dogs that can no longer compete are called "Dead Dogs Walking."

Huff, a Showtime drama series starring Hank Azaria won for dialogue in "Is She Dead" between grandmother and grandson regarding cooking of lobster in which the grandson shows concern for not only the lobster, but also for cows in the slaughterhouse line. His grandmother's attempts to trivialize his concerns are inept and she is clearly uncomfortable by having to examine her own feelings about it. At one point, when the grandson points out that the next cow in line watches it's friend be slaughtered, sometimes while fully aware and screaming, the grandmother says "cows don't have friends." She makes one wonder if she has ever heard that cows are herd animals.

Montel Williams' syndicated show won for content linking early childhood violence involving animals to adult violence against humans, and for showing graphic video footage of seal hunters bludgeoning seal pups.

Animal Cops Houston, which is an Animal Planet series, won for their profile and assistance in helping to bring home a dog, Ratchet, that was rescued by an Army Staff Sergeant while in Iraq.

That's So Raven, seen on the Disney Channel, received an award for "A Goat's Tale" which was about rescuing (labeled stealing) a mascot and caring for it.

Celebrity Justice, which has covered more animal issues than any other show, both roasting and praising celebrities for their dealings with animals, won for Outstanding Newsmagazine.

Time magazine won for it's August 2004 story on "Saving The Big Cats."

Doris Day music award went to Nellie McKay, singer/songwriter, who performed her song of praise for man's best friend - "The Dog Song."

Cable documentary winner Papa Bear from Animal Planet / Discovery about the world of black bears and the story of a naturalist who rescues 2 cubs and aided them to return to the wilds. Show ends with one of the cubs being shot by a hunter, even though the bear was clearly marked by a collar indicating it was off limits to hunters.

Patrick McDonell was honored for his cartoons "Mutts" which focus on animal issues.

WPMI-TV Mobile Alabama's Mike Rush televised "Pork and Politics"about hog-dog rodeos and won the local news story award and then announced House Bill 625 just passed to outlaw hogdog rodeos in Alabama.

Award winners must earn their living in the media, but they give a guest of honor award to an outsider, and it went this year to the zoo director from the Detroit zoo - Ron Kagan - who announced closure of the zoo's elephant exhibit housing Wanda & Winky. He received a standing ovation.

PBS won for "Best Friend Forgotten" a documentary about pet overpopulation and the importance of spay/neuter. After the award was given, one of the canine stars of the film was introduced, along with his new adoptive guardian.

PBS documentary shown on WTTW-Chicago "Out of the Pit: Dog Fighting in Chicago" won an award. This film stressed that dog fighting isn't just a dog issue, but is a child welfare issue which scars children at an early age by witnessing such violence. Dog Fighting is illegal in all 50 States.

Sid Caesar comedy award went to "8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter" for a segment called "Finale - Part Deux" in which Carey protests frog dissection in her school, and her mother supports her actions.

South Florida Sun Sentinel won for an article called "Below the Surface" by Sally Kestin which was an expose on abuse and suffering of marine mammals in captivity.

San Francisco's KTVU won for reporter Leslie Griffith's "Behind the Scenes at Ringling Brothers" expose on the Ringling Brothers Circus which they ran while the circus was in town.

2004 Victory announcements
* British ban on fox hunting with dogs
* California joins 10 countries by banning foie gras
* California passes bill outlawing the declawing of captive exotic cats
* Oklahoma outlaws cockfighting
* Charles River labs charged with violations
* UC San Francisco lab charged with 60 violations

Dateline NBC and it's correspondent, Keith Morrison won for "Out To Pasture" which told the story of the suffering of Premarin mares and the mass slaughter involved with getting rid of 20,000 out of 40,000 horses practically overnight after news broke about the dangers of Premarin.

ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings won for "Animal Cruelty?"- the report about Pilgrim's Pride's chicken processor whose abuse of chickens was documented by PeTA. Reporter Ned Potter, pointed out that this was not uncommon in factory farming.

"The Corporation" from Zeitgeist films was a winning documentary about the abuse and greed of big corporations who forego ethics for profits. A focus was on the BST in milk, which increases milk production, to the detriment of the cows and the ecology. This film was conceived after reading "The Ecology of Commerce which is a book about extinction caused by commerce.

Benji: Off the Leash from Mulberry Square Productions by Joe Camp won for focusing on irresponsible and cruel dog breeding and the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse.

The Brigitte Bardot International Award goes to Carte Blanche in South Africa. Their documentary "Animals And The Law" highlighted information from Compassion in World Farming and the horrors that food animals endure.

Universal Pictures "Two Brothers" by French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud, won feature film award for a family story about tiger cubs whose mother was killed, and the hunter who did it, and then who proceeded to hunt these same cubs after they were released from captivity. In the end, the hunter vows to never hunt again. John-Jacques Annaud also brought us "The Bear."

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