PETA named Ellen DeGeneres the 2009 Woman of the Year because of her "exceptional effort to place animal rights issues before a large audience."
The talk show host posted a tweet of appreciation on her twitter, "I'm honored PETA named me 'Person of The Year'. I thank them for protecting animals every single day. Amazing."
DeGeneres made the switch to a vegan lifestyle in 2008. "I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals, and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living things, with feelings," DeGeneres writes on her website. "And I just couldn't disconnect myself from it any longer. I read books like 'Diet for a New America' and saw documentaries like 'Earthlings' and 'Meet your Meat,' and it became an easy choice for me." Since then she has used her show and high profile status to encourage others to try a cruelty-free lifestyle.
On the show's website DeGeneres provides helpful links for those interested in an animal-free diet such as sources of protein, inspirational videos, recipes, and reasons to go vegan. The comedian frequently features vegan guests on her show including her personal chef Roberto Martin and Dr. Neal Barnard who is launching the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart weight-loss program on January 1.
Along with Ellen DeGeneres being crowned the Woman of the Year, PETA recognized Project Runway's host Tim Gunn as Man of the Year. "Tim Gunn and Ellen DeGeneres show us that one person really can make a difference in the world by rejecting cruel deeds in favor of compassionate acts," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Their message that animals must be treated kindly and respectfully has reached scores of people, and many of them have changed their buying habits, all because Gunn and DeGeneres spoke up for the voiceless."
The Ellen DeGeneres show is in its seventh season and has won 29 Daytime Emmy Awards since its inception in 2003. Source