Tony Gonzalez Lands Inaugural Spot in PETA’s Hall of Fame for Animals

Tight End's All-Star Moves for Animals Paved the Way for Group's Roster of Professional Athlete Supporters

For Immediate Release:
December 23, 2013

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Atlanta – When he and his wife, October, stripped down for PETA’s iconic “Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign in 2009, NFL great Tony Gonzalez proved that professional athletes can—and should—show a softer side for animals. Since then, a slew of high-profile athletes have volunteered their time and talents to help PETA promote compassion for animals, tackling everything from the cruelty of the fur industry to the importance of always spaying and neutering dogs and cats. And now, as the record-setting tight end wraps up his final season, PETA is recognizing him with the inaugural spot in its new Hall of Fame for Animals.

“When Tony Gonzalez talks, the sports world listens—and when he and his wife bared it all to help animals abused on fur farms, the whole world took notice,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Tony truly paved the way for professional athletes to partner with PETA and find their voice for animals.”

“We should be protecting animals, not sacrificing their lives for the sake of fashion or luxury,” Gonzalez said in his video interview with PETA. “October and I have changed many of our habits in light of the inhumane treatment of animals that occurs not only in the fur industry but also on factory farms.” Gonzalez also teamed up with PETA to speak out against circuses that use bullhooks—weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp, metal hook on one end—to beat and abuse elephants, saying, “This archaic device has no place in a civilized society that values animals, as my family and I do.”

Gonzalez’s 16-year career with the NFL has included 13 Pro Bowl selections. He is the current record holder for receptions and total reception yards by a tight end and is the Pro Bowl all-time leader in both receptions and touchdowns.

Pro athletes who have worked with PETA since Gonzalez’s campaign include Chase Utley, Terrell Suggs, Metta World Peace, Amar’e Stoudemire, Nyjer Morgan, Maurice Jones-Drew, and many, many more.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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