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Interview August 1, 2003

Doris Day Interview

by Carol Givner

Posted on August 1, 2003

Doris Day

Doris Day

Doris Day, world-renowned actress and singer, is the founder of the Doris Day Animal Foundation, formed to promote animal welfare. She is also the president of the Doris Day Animal League, a nonprofit, lobbying organization dedicated to advancing the humane treatment of animals through passage of legislation designed to diminish their mistreatment and distress.

Two acclaimed features, instigated to raise children's awareness, are part of the Foundation. They are AnimalsAloud, the country's first reading program emphasizing the humane treatment of animals, and Comics for Compassion, designed to highlight the heroism of animal welfare.

Animal News Center: How did you get started working to promote animal welfare?

Doris Day: A sad and very personal experience grew over many years to expand my concerns about animal welfare issues. Tiny, my dog, was my invaluable companion when I was a teenager and I was on crutches for more than a year after a car accident with a train. Tiny never left my side. He understood my moods and gave me the kind of companionship that only a dog can bestow.

Doris Day Animal Foundation
Doris Day Animal League
Comics For Compassion
Chimpanzee Collaboratory
Beyond Violence

That began my lifelong love affair with dogs, a sentiment known only to dog lovers, and cat lovers, too. Their affection and caring is a relief from tensions and anxiety.

Tiny used to walk beside me on the pavement as I eased myself along on my crutches. One day for no reason, he scampered away from me and into the street. Tiny was hit by a car and killed instantly.

From that day forward I always felt deeply and passionately about dogs needing to be on leashes when in the street. That began my lifelong 'education' about how much needed to be done to help animals and the people who love them.

ANC: What prompted the creation of The Doris Day Animal Foundation and The Doris Day Animal League?

Interview Archives

DD: I had an organization called the Doris Day Pet Foundation for many years. We placed individual animals in good homes and raised money for spaying, neutering, and even feeding the animals in need. It was limited to California, and I realized that we could help so many more animals with a national organization. First came the Doris Day Animal League in 1987, and the Doris Day Animal Foundation followed later. We now work on the issues that affect all animals.

ANC: What legal protections are offered to animals used in the production of films?

DD: There are no laws specifically governing the use of animals in the production of films. All animal breeders or exhibitors licensed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are subject to the regulations set by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which stipulates minimal acceptable standards for things like cage size, sanitation, and access to food and water.

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