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Tara Harper, 'Most Eligible Dallas' Star, Celebrates Animal Rights And Farm Sanctuary

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Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur, hailed by TIME Magazine as “the conscience of the food movement” and Paws in the City President, Executive Vice President of SPI, Inc, and star of Bravo TV’s “Most Eligible Dallas” series Tara Harper spread a message of compassion for farm animals at Farm Sanctuary’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in Dallas. | Farm Sanctuary

Tara Harper had her work cut out for her when she started up her charity Paws in the City eight years ago.

Harper, one of the stars of the Bravo TV show "Most Eligible Dallas," told The Huffington Post, "I started it up with no idea about what I was doing, then a week later Katrina hit and we took in a bunch of dogs from Louisiana and Mississippi."

She said the shelter became a big part of her storyline, and the response from people around the country was fantastic. "I had people contact me from all over the country to say they didn't know they could just go and adopt a cat or dog out of a shelter rather than buying one at a pet store," she said.

Paws in the City is based in Dallas, Texas, and is run with the help of hundreds of volunteers and foster homes. "I have two foster dogs here with me now that I've been running around after" she said on the phone, "so I apologize if I sound out of breath." She added that one of the dogs, Gregory, named after her hairdresser, has worked his way into her heart and will likely join eight other rescue dogs which have become permanent residents of her home.

Harper's love for animals is also reflected in her eating habits. A vegetarian for 20 years, she first gave up meat for Lent. "I had no idea what I was doing and gained 20 pounds because I was just eating bread and pasta."

Harper says that Farm Sanctuary, a U.S. farm animal protection organization, has helped keep her on track as she now works to "make the leap" to veganism.

Harper attended an event in Dallas on November 3 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Farm Sanctuary. "When I learned about how they started -- selling veggie hotdogs out the back of their VW van at Grateful Dead concerts, I could totally relate to that. Starting off having no idea what you're doing but being so passionate about it, and saving lives at the same time."

The event was unique for a place like Dallas. Harper explained, "Vegetarian and vegan restaurants aren't very common here, but they are beginning to pop up."

Farm Sanctuary has come a long way since it started, and now runs campaigns including Truth Behind the Labels and anti-confinement projects, which aim to ban intensive confinement of farm animals such as hens kept in battery cages, pigs confined to gestation crates and calves locked in veal crates.

According to the Farm Sanctuary website:

"Modern breeding sows are treated like piglet-making machines. Living a continuous cycle of impregnation and birth, each sow has more than 20 piglets per year. After being impregnated, the sows are confined in gestation crates – small metal pens just 2 feet wide that prevent sows from turning around or even lying down comfortably."

The organization also runs Veg For Life, which provides information and tips for vegetarians and those considering a meat-free lifestyle.

Check out the slideshow below of other celebrities who (according to various reports) have made the choice to cut meat out of their diet.

World Vegetarian Day: Vegetarian Celebrities
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