Richard Donner: An Orca’s Best Friend

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

Sadly, Richard Donner died this week.

If you’re old enough to remember the movie Lethal Weapon 3, you may remember all the animal rights posters plastered around the police station in the film. That was classic Donner, who was known for sneaking social messages into his movies. In this instance, he was taking aim at General Motors, which at that time was still smashing up pigs and ferrets in crash tests. His action helped PETA end those deadly experiments.

director Richard Donner©

Donner and his compassionate wife, Lauren Shuler Donner, received PETA’s Humanitarian Award at our 25th Anniversary Gala, but he will be forever remembered for his call to end the confinement of marine mammals. His Free Willy informed a whole generation about animals in marine parks.

“Removal of these majestic mammals from the wild for commercial purposes is obscene. … These horrendous captures absolutely must become a thing of the past.”

—Richard Donner

Donner appealed to SeaWorld to fund the creation of a coastal sanctuary so that the orcas at its parks could be retired. PETA is still pushing that initiative forward.

If you’re one of Donner’s millions of fans, please honor his legacy by doing something to make a difference for animals.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind