Betty White, who died Friday at age 99, will be remembered by many as an iconic entertainer who charmed Americans through their TV screens for decades, but she was also a passionate one animals loving and lifelong advocate for animal welfare.
The “Golden Girls” star wrote in her 2012 book, “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo”, that she fell in love with animals at a young age after tagging with her parents in zoos.
“I am a confirmed zoophile, and I especially appreciate the positive changes that have taken place throughout the zoo community over the last few decades, and the critical role they play today in sustaining endangered species,” White wrote. .
White began working with The Los Angeles Animal Abuse Prevention Company already in the 1940s when she was in her 20s.
“Betty and I would joke that she would survive us all,” spcaLA president Madeline Bernstein said Friday.
“She was inspired to lend her fame to give a voice to animals, and she brought a lot of attention to the cause of animal welfare. We will miss our Friend for life.”
White was involved with the Morris Animal Foundation for 50 years and served in various roles as administrator, board chairman, and spokesman.
“Betty always put animals first. In the 1990s, she suggested pain management should be an area for future research and funded the first few studies,” former Morris Animal Foundation executive director Dr. Rob Hilsenroth said last Friday.
“Today, if a veterinarian performs an elective operation, such as a sterilization or castration without the use of pain management, she / he may be charged with malpractice. You can thank Betty White for the revolutionary change in the way we all practice. phases of veterinary medicine today. “
She was also a trustee for decades at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.
“No one is a more passionate champion [of] Zoo’s mission to care for animals and protect them in the wild, “the Los Angeles Zoo wrote earlier this year on its 99th birthday.
White’s longtime agent and close friend, Jeff Witjas, confirmed the news of her death on Friday.
She would have turned 100 on January 17th.