- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- American actress and comedian (1922–2021)
Following Betty White’s death Friday at age 99, animals rights groups honored her lifelong work as an activist for all creatures.
“Betty White was a constant and compassionate advocate for vulnerable animals across the country, and will be greatly missed,” said the ASPCA. “We send our condolences to her friends and family.”
While most people knew her as America’s Sweetheart, zoos and foundations across the country knew White for the generous donations she made in the name of animal welfare.
“We lost a conservationist, animal advocate, and friend,” the Audubon Nature Institute said. “When the penguins & sea otters were evacuated … for Hurricane Katrina, Betty White paid for the plane to relocate them. She did not ask for fanfare; she just wanted to help.”
White grew up around animals, joking that her mom would’ve given her up as a newborn if the family cat, Toby, didn’t approve of her. One of her earliest causes was her local zoo in Los Angeles, which she vowed to improve.
“Her work with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association spans more than five decades, and we are grateful for her enduring friendship, lifelong advocacy for animals, and tireless dedication to supporting our mission,” association president Tom Jacobsen said in a statement.
“She cared deeply for all living creatures – including us,” said zoo CEO Denise Verret. “Her loss leaves a great hole in our hearts.”
As she became a nationwide icon, White expanded her activism across the country. Among her many causes, she worked with The Seeing Eye in New Jersey, one of the nation’s oldest guide dog schools.
“The Seeing Eye mourns the passing of long-time supporter, advocate, and friend Betty White,” the organization said Friday. “All of us at The Seeing Eye will miss her kindness, her wisdom, and her amazing laugh.”
And the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., spoke for groups across the country.
“Actress + author (Betty White) graced us with a visit in 2012, sharing her passion for wildlife + animal conservation with our team,” the zoo wrote. “Ms. White’s love of animals inspired us + others who care + protect creatures large + small.”