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Katie Cleary’s Film “Give Me Shelter” Wins for Best Short Film

Last week, I met my friend—model/actress, and animal welfarist—Katie Cleary. We caught up on business at a posh Beverly Hill’s eatery, when she casually alerted me to a young lady wearing a fur coat at a table behind us.  Although, I think it is most distasteful and an overt display of disrespect to the animal...

Katie Cleary & Kristin Rizzo

Last week, I met my friend—model/actress, and animal welfarist—Katie Cleary. We caught up on business at a posh Beverly Hill’s eatery, when she casually alerted me to a young lady wearing a fur coat at a table behind us.  Although, I think it is most distasteful and an overt display of disrespect to the animal kingdom to wear real fur, I didn’t think much more about the particular incident.

The “fur bearing” woman was clearly on Katie’s mind because as soon as we got up to leave, the actress walked over to the woman surrounded by a party of 6 or 7 guys, handed  her a business card, and proceeded to tell her that by wearing fur she was clearly unaware of the pain and suffering animals go through for the purposes of being turned into a fur coat.

Katie went on to inform the young lady that, on average, up to 25 animals or more may be killed just to make one item of clothing.  “You should probably do some research and find out the facts before you wear someone else’s skin,” Katie said as we walked away. The woman was shocked, but it was apparent that she will now think twice about wearing fur and may do some further research before wearing fur again.

I was most impressed by this act on behalf of the voiceless. Although I support hunting only as a conservation management tool, the needless killing of animals for their fur in a “synthetic age” seem most barbaric. Katie obviously agrees. She more than talks the talk, she walks the walk.

This past weekend the animal welfarist and her best friend, Kristin Rizzo, won Best Documentary Short for their film “Give Me Shelter” at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood.  The Peace 4 Animals production in collaboration with INRI Pictures was produced by Katie and directed by Ms. Rizzo. Edd Lukas and Kristina Schulte-Eversum were the cinematographers on the film project. The trailer for the film was submitted and subsequently received the award. The team is now working on post-production and editing the feature length film which will be out in May 2013.

Katie’s intent with the “Give Me Shelter” production was to bring to the attention of the masses, a deeply moving piece chronicling various aspects of human-domestic animal/wildlife conflict and to raise awareness for important animal abuse and neglect issues around the world.

The movie provides a perspective on the work that many different individuals and animal organizations conduct in an unprecedented fashion. The film reveals what we often choose to ignore or dismiss concerning how animal kind is often treated in our midst.  Topics featured in the documentary include the the underground  trade in wild and exotic animals, puppy mills, poaching, animal abuse and neglect, among other aspects of negative human-animal interactions that plague societies around the globe.

Katie Cleary is the founder and President of Peace for Animals, a charity aimed at helping to end animal suffering around the globe.

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Meet the Author

Author Photo Jordan Carlton Schaul
With training in wildlife ecology, conservation medicine and comparative psychology, Dr. Schaul's contributions to Nat Geo Voices have covered a range of environmental and social topics. He draws particular attention to the plight of imperiled species highlighting issues at the juncture or nexus of sorta situ wildlife conservation and applied animal welfare. Sorta situ conservation practices are comprised of scientific management and stewardship of animal populations ex situ (in captivity / 'in human care') and in situ (free-ranging / 'in nature'). He also has a background in behavior management and training of companion animals and captive wildlife, as well as conservation marketing and digital publicity. Jordan has shared interviews with colleagues and public figures, as well as editorial news content. In addition, he has posted narratives describing his own work, which include the following examples: • Restoration of wood bison to the Interior of Alaska while (While Animal Curator at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and courtesy professor at the University of Alaska) • Rehabilitation of orphaned sloth bears exploited for tourists in South Asia (While executive consultant 'in-residence' at the Agra Bear Rescue Center managed by Wildlife SOS) • Censusing small wild cat (e.g. ocelot and margay) populations in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica for popular publications with 'The Cat Whisperer' Mieshelle Nagelschneider • Evaluating the impact of ecotourism on marine mammal population stability and welfare off the coast of Mexico's Sea of Cortez (With Boston University's marine science program) Jordan was a director on boards of non-profit wildlife conservation organizations serving nations in Africa, North and South America and Southeast Asia. He is also a consultant to a human-wildlife conflict mitigation organization in the Pacific Northwest. Following animal curatorships in Alaska and California, he served as a charter board member of a zoo advocacy and outreach organization and later as its executive director. Jordan was a member of the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (CEC-IUCN) and the Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (BSG-SSC-IUCN). He has served on the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society and in service to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA Bear TAG). In addition he was an ex officio member of council of the International Association for Bear Research and Management. Contact Email: