Animal Rights Activism - Early Years:
The former game show host is a long-time animal protection supporter. Barker first became interested in animal issues when his wife, Dorothy Jo, stopped wearing the fur coats he had bought her. In 1979, Barker became vegetarian as a result of his wife’s influence. After being the MC for the Miss America pageant for over 20 years, Barker stepped down when he asked the pageant producers to stop offering fur coats as prizes and they refused.
Recent Animal Rights Activism:
In later seasons of The Price is Right, Barker ended every show with “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” Barker has also established the DJ&T Foundation, named after Dorothy Jo and Barker’s mother Mathilda (Tilly), to financially support low cost spay/neuter clinics.
A celebrity supporter of the Great American Meatout, Barker is vegetarian, but stated in 2009, “I’m not bright enough to be a vegan . . . I certainly don’t eat meat, fish, fowl. I don’t eat dairy products . . . I’m not quite perfect, I don’t think, as far as being a vegan is concerned.”
Million Dollar Donations:
Barker has also donated $2 million to his alma mater, Drury University, to establish the Dorothy Jo Barker Endowed Professorship of Animal Rights and to establish an animal ethics course at Drury.
Barker has also made several million-dollar donations to law schools such as the University of Virginia, Columbia Law School, and Stanford Law School, for the establishment of animal law programs.