Edie Falco’s Aha Moment

‘It’s Our Job to Try to Take Care of Those Who Can’t Take Care of Themselves’

PETA’s 2015 Humanitarian Award winner, Edie Falco, is no shrinking violet. From her award-winning roles on The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie to her defense of animal rights, she speaks her mind on screen and off. She has spoken passionately against the way baby elephants are separated from their mothers in circuses and trained using force as well as the miserable lives of orcas kept for decades in SeaWorld tanks. She also urges everyone to steer clear of horse-drawn carriages because of the way the horses are exploited – in New York City or anywhere else.

PETA: How did your awareness of animal rights issues come about?
Edie: I started rescuing little animals when I was a kid. A guy I knew from the neighborhood was petting his cat, and he realized that the cat’s leg felt just like a chicken leg, and he had this awakening: The “why do we pet one and eat the other one?” idea hit him. He started this awakening for me about animal welfare, which had always been on my radar, but he put a fine point on it.

PETA: You’ve been to the US Capitol on PETA’s behalf several times to meet with members of Congress about stabbing, shooting, and cutting the limbs off goats in military trauma training. What has that been like?
Edie: Talking to people who agreed with me about the issues was heartening, but hearing the perspective of those who didn’t was impactful. As far as making change, I want to know what’s standing in the way of that change, how to get to the change, what we have to do, how … we have to approach the problem.

PETA: Do you see animal rights as being on a par with other social justice movements?
Edie: I do. It may well be our downfall that we do not take care of the most vulnerable around us: animals, people in war-torn regions, [the] poverty-stricken, women with the #MeToo movement. It’s time to face the fact that we are a part of a large, living, global society, and we all deserve respect and must care about each other.

PETA: We know that you attended the march against gun violence…
Edie: I went with Lisa [Lange] and others from PETA. My favorite slogan was on my shirt. It said, “Vegans Against All Violence.” I love that slogan, because violence begets violence. Violent people are going to be violent against anyone weaker, and animals fall into that category. Sometimes angry people who can’t get back at their abuser will take it out on an animal. You raise a kid with violence in the house, chances are he’s going to be a violent kid – it’s just the way it is. It’s our job to try to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves.

PETA: How do you reach people with animal rights issues?
Edie: One thing I do is try to lead by example. I’m vegan. Of course, I’ve never worn fur, and my fantastic, very fashionable coat is from a vegan company called Vaute Couture. What’s done to geese to get down is abominable, and this is a down alternative. It’s the warmest coat I’ve ever had in my life. Animals need our buying power and our voices!

This article originally appears in our magazine, PETA Global. To begin your subscription, become a PETA member today!

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