The Humane Society of the United States honored Kesha with the Voice for the Animals Award, and philanthropist Wallis Annenberg with the Lifetime Achievement Award at its Los Angeles benefit gala on Saturday.
Animal rights activists, including Diane Warren, Priscilla Presley, and Leona Lewis, gathered at the Paramount Studios backlot to celebrate the non-profit’s progress over the past year and raise more funds through a live auction.
“I’m just gonna talk about my cats,” Kesha joked when accepting her award. “The first time I felt true unconditional love — I can’t say it was towards a family member because they can talk — it was when I left a place, it was a strip club, and I walked outside and there was a tiny baby kitten in a garbage can. And my instinct was I just grabbed him and said ‘I can’t leave you here.’ And my drummer said, ‘Don’t touch that, he’s a trash cat.’ And I was like, ‘You’re a trash person, we’re taking the cat.’
The Grammy Award-winning singer, who was presented with the honor by Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, went on to talk about her dedication to taking in foster animals. She ended up taking the cat she found in the dumpster, which she later named Mr. Peeps, home with her to the Sunset Marquis where she said he proceeded to destroy about seven rooms. “He’s officially banned from the Sunset Marquis. Steven Tyler’s not banned from the Sunset Marquis so he’s officially more rockstar than Steven Tyler,” she said to a laughing crowd.
Kesha finished her speech by announcing her plans to create a film that aims to give animals a voice. While not much has been produced yet, she said she’s been compiling footage of her travels and experiences with animals to give a voice to “these voiceless souls.” She urged those in the room who were interested in contributing to the project to find her afterwards.
Aside from celebrating the night’s honorees, much of the gala was focused on the Humane Society’s legislative process over the past year. Through a video speech given by Governor Gavin Newsom, attendees learned about the Humane Society’s involvement in banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetic products and giant ocean nets used for mass fishing.
“No animal should be subjected to painful experiments for the sake of a lipstick,” said Kristin Bauer, an actress and animal rights activist who traveled to Sacramento with HSUS to lobby for pro animal rights legislation. “Californians have truly raised the bar in animal protection, voting overwhelmingly on Prop 12, the strongest farm animal protective law in the world — it’s incredible! It was made possible by all of you who put in the hard work to rally the support needed in putting this historic measure over the winning line.”
After speeches given by Annenberg and the HSUS President and CEO Kitty Block, the live auction kicked off. Bidded items included custom-made wallpaper made by celebrity interior designer Nathan Turner starting at $5,000 and a four-day vacation in Punta Mita, Mexico starting at $10,000.
“Our fight to alleviate the suffering of farm animals is a global effort,” said Block in her final statements. “We are pushing for corporate reform, humane legislation, and reduction of meat consumption on every continent. There’s power in what you buy and there’s power in what you consume, and I think if everybody’s just a little bit of an advocate, you can make great change.”