Rise of the Planet of the Apes Lands Humane Society Award For Animal Rights Awareness

© R.Cruger -- Host Carrie Ann Inaba of "Dancing With the Stars" steps out with Uggie.

The Oscars may be over but Uggie, the pooch from The Artist, took the stage at the Genesis Awards presented by the Humane Society of the United States, in order to announce the winner of the best feature film.

The winner, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, snatched the honor from Rio, War Horse and Dolphin Tale, stories that addressed the plight of captive animals, from endangered birds to whales in sea parks.

© 20th Century Fox -- Caesar, the sentient ape in the winning film, says ‘no’ to medical research with animals.

This past Saturday's 26th Genesis Awards recognized the news and entertainment media's efforts to raise awareness about animal issues from bats to pets, reflecting the HSUS efforts protecting animals and preventing cruelty.

The initiative includes 90 pieces of legislation, such as stopping wildlife poaching and pig farm practices.

© R.Cruger -- Moby presents the documentary awards. In 2011, 300 of 800 films were documentaries.

Both winners and presenters were equally rabid about causes, such as vegan musician Moby, Cloris Leachman, Kaley Cuoco, and comedian Bill Maher. Maher said: “If Spain can ban bullfighting, there’s hope that Montana can end hunting.”

© R.Cruger -- Gordon Ramsay congratulates California on banning shark fin soup.

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s episode “Shark Bait” grabbed the best TV doc for its expose of shark-finning and how overfishing is threatening to sharks to extinction. His strong-arming campaign convinced London Chinese restaurants to stop serving shark fin soup.

The Colbert Report took the Sid Ceasar prize for the second consecutive year, this time for its satirical twist on Whale Wars and a Utah legislator’s proposal to kill feral dogs and cats.

More Genesis Award Winners

  • ABC’s 20/20 got the TV newsmagazine prize for exposing conditions at an egg factory farm, prompting McDonald’s to dump Sparboe.
  • NBC Nightly News won the national news award stories on blue fin tuna troubles to Detroit’s dog rescue, with Brian Williams noting the broadcast garnered $87,000 for the shelter.
  • Animal Planet Investigates took the top reality series for an episode on “canned hunting” about shooting animals trapped behind fences as “sport.”
  • Ellen DeGeneres got the talk show trophy for for multiple issues from dogfighting to puppy mills.
  • IMAX's Born to Be Wild 3D won for documentary film on rehabilitating baby elephants and orangutans orphaned by poaching.

Dr. Galdikas of Camp Leakey spoke of the deforestation of the orangutan’s habitat as jungle is clear-cut for tracks of palms, adding, "There is no sustainable palm oil."

From Cats to Dogs and Circuses to Zoos

Footage ranged from heart-warming efforts to graphic indictments. Singer Colbie Caillat, who performed, spoke of her fight against puppy mills. Actress Wendy Malick addressed equine protection and the slaughter of wild horses on public lands for overseas consumption, warning that the 39 viable herds could be eradicated in 11 years.

Actor Ian Somerholder of The Vampire Diaries, was honored for his comprehensive environmental foundation which reaches his fans about issues from habitat to energy to animals, saying "It's not our fault, but it is our calling."

© R.Cruger -- Bill Maher of HBO's Real Time.

The International Humanitarian award went to Pritish Nandy, co-founder of People for Animals, poet/journalist/activist who spoke of the progress in India with the banning of horse carriages, circus animals, camel rides on beaches, killing of stray dogs, and end to animal sacrifice.

© R.Cruger -- Vegan shoes at the silent auction for the US Humane Society fundraiser, sponsored by Honda, Warner Bros. and others.

The event will air on Animal Planet on May 5.

Tags: Activism | Actors | Animal Planet | Animal Rights | Animal Welfare | Awards