When Bob Barker retired from The Price Is Right after 35 years, he said his final goodbye the same way that he always did, with the reminder to spay and
neuter animal companions. Daytime TV fans certainly miss Mr. Barker, but we are thrilled to report that Bob is spending his “retirement” vigorously promoting animal rights.
Bob Barker’s off-screen achievements to help animals are so impressive that PETA’s new Los Angeles office – which Mr. Barker generously funded with a $2.5 million donation and which will house PETA’s vital Youth Campaigns, Marketing and International Grassroots Campaigns departments – is named in his honor.
As a longtime animal crusader, Mr. Barker made sure that fur coats were never given away as prizes on The Price Is Right, and he famously resigned from the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants-after serving as host for decades – when the shows’ producers insisted on including furs in the prize packages.
He does it all, from contributing a vegan recipe to The PETA Celebrity Cookbook to donating millions of dollars to set up animal law programs at eight schools, including Harvard, Stanford and Georgetown.
One afternoon, he called PETA after learning that a Virginia homeowner had hired hunters to kill deer who had the audacity to nibble on the man’s flower garden. “For the sake of a few flowers, which … I am happy to replace,” he said, “surely a ‘Live and Let Live’ ethic and common sense can be brought into play.” It took some doing, but in the end, it was Bob Barker’s impetus that prevented the slaughter.
Among his other good deeds, Mr. Barker has been heavily involved in trying to persuade the Edmonton Zoo to send Lucy, a lone, ailing elephant, to a sanctuary. Overweight and suffering from arthritis, Lucy spends most of her time inside a concrete-floored barn with nothing to do, the Canadian winters being far too harsh for her to go outside.
Mr. Barker is also working to free the bears confined to turn-of-the-(19th)-century concrete pits in Cherokee, North Carolina. The bears pace back and forth incessantly, looking up at tourists from whom they beg for food. Mr. Barker traveled from Hollywood to see the bears for himself but was barred entry. He then addressed a tribal meeting about the bears’ plight. “I told Chief Hicks [of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians]that I’m not an expert on bears,” Bob wrote. “I’m an expert on giving away refrigerators. But I can tell you that these bears are not properly housed or fed… The cruel bear displays are a glaring blemish on the area ….”
Mr. Barker has said that he “would like to be remembered as a man who loved living things and did everything he could do to make [the world] better for animals. And when he had time, he did a lot of television shows, too.”
Don’t worry, Bob, we already think of you that way.