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Heather Mills Donates $50,000 to Animal Rights

Heather Mills Also Awarded Celebrity Activist Award at Animal Rights Conference

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Heather Mills at the Animal Rights National Conference.

Heather Mills at the Animal Rights National Conference. Photo by Doris Lin.

On August 16, 2008, at the Saturday evening banquet at AR 2008, the Animal Rights National Conference, celebrity activist Heather Mills donated $50,000, to be shared equally between the conference and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

During the fundraiser portion of the evening, Howard Lyman, the Mad Cowboy, took the stage and asked if anyone would donate $10,000 to support the work of Sea Shepherd and next year's conference. The conference strives to not turn a single person away for lack of funds. Lyman offered a variety of prizes for the top donors to choose from. The first and only hand up, to make a donation of $10,000, was Mills'. Minutes later, Dawn Moncrief, Executive Director of Farm Animal Rights Movement, read from a small note that Heather Mills was going to up her donation to $50,000! The room erupted with applause and cheers.

Later on during the banquet, Mills' friend Karen Dawn of Dawnwatch presented the celebrity activist award to Mills, and Dawn stated that when Mills handed the donation note to her to be given to Moncrief, Mills did not intend for it to be read out loud. A short video summed up Mills' work for the animals on issues such as seal protection, dog and cat fur, factory farming and the environmental impact of animal agriculture.

In her acceptance speech, Mills talked about becoming vegan originally for health reasons, but Mills is now an animal rights activist. She stated that she didn't have much to say to vegans because, "You're there." She also expressed her frustration with vegetarians who "can't get the bloody dairy out of their diet." Mills is also working on starting a chain of vegan fast food restaurants.

After a long evening of speeches, awards and fundraising, Mills had the grace and patience to speak with dozens of activists who lined up to meet her, including posing for photos with all who asked. As she was leaving the banquet hall, she kneeled down to pet a large, friendly dog, who licked her face appreciatively.

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