She’s an actress who is best known for her role as Penny on the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. She has also starred in many other series and movies. And on top of that, she runs her own production company, Yes, Norman Productions, which she named after one of her dogs. But is Kaley Cuoco vegan?
No, Kaley Cuoco is not vegan. Although she regularly raises awareness about animal-related issues and doesn’t eat meat from land animals anymore, she does still eat fish and other animal products. She also rides horses often and is married to a well-known equestrian.
Kaley on animal cruelty
Kaley has been speaking up about animal cruelty since the time tweets were limited to 140 characters, as evidenced by this tweet from 2013:
“I dnt thnk Bizarre Foods on travel,should b allowed on air.It’s gross and involves animal cruelty. Dnt care if my tweet receives ‘backlash’”
— Kaley Cuoco (@KaleyCuoco) May 28, 2013
She didn’t receive backlash for the tweet because it was undeniable that the show, which even featured the eating of beating hearts, contained animal cruelty. Unfortunately, though, her tweet didn’t result in the show being canceled either.
That year, she also spoke up about the horse-drawn carriages in New York City. “Love everything about NYC but the horse-drawn carriages. It’s dangerous and cruel. Aren’t we beyond this ridiculous tourist attraction?” she tweeted.
Many horses in New York City work nine hours a day without any days off. They walk on hard pavement and breathe in exhaust fumes as they pull carriages that weigh hundreds of pounds. They also cause a lot of accidents because horses simply aren’t adapted to busy urban traffic, which makes the practice dangerous to both horses and humans.
The following year, Kaley tweeted her disgust for the Canadian seal hunt:
While many people agreed with her, there were also those who didn’t, to whom she said the following:
“I’m disgusted hearing the Canadian seal hunt is “humane”. It’s so “humane” I’m unable 2 post any pics it’s so grotesque. My heart breaks”
— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014
In an effort to help put an end to the Canadian seal hunt, she joined the Humane Society of the United States. In 2015, the nonprofit released two ads featuring her, this was one of them:
As you can see, the ad didn’t just address the Canadian seal hunt, but it also addressed other forms of animal cruelty, such as factory farming. Unfortunately, however, it didn’t mention that we personally contribute to animal exploitation every time we buy animal products and that we need to stop doing that in order to end it.
Kaley did not seem to be aware of that herself, as evidenced by this photo, which she posted on Instagram that same year:
While “poach eggs, not elephants” is a catchy slogan and Kaley’s desire to speak out against elephant poaching is commendable, the unfortunate fact is that the egg industry is responsible for far more suffering than elephant poachers. Worldwide, the number of elephants killed per year is in the tens of thousands, while the egg industry in the U.S. alone breeds hundreds of millions of chickens into existence every single year just to exploit them for eggs and kill them.
Half of the chicks bred into existence are males, who will never lay eggs, so the industry kills them all on their first day of life. The females have been bred to lay over 300 eggs a year, as opposed to the 10 to 15 eggs a year that their wild ancestors laid, but they can only keep this up for one year before their productivity goes down. So, after a year of continuously laying eggs, they’re killed and replaced.
If Kaley had been aware of this, she probably wouldn’t have protested elephant poaching with a slogan that promotes egg consumption.
Kaley on adopting animals
Kaley has many companion animals. Dogs, horses, rabbits, pigs and more. She frequently posts pictures of them on social media. And two of them, Simon the rabbit and Shmooshy the dwarf mini horse, even have their own Instagram accounts.
She often talks about the importance of adopting animals from shelters instead of buying them from breeders. In 2018, she said: “Animal rescue is super important to me because we give a voice to the voiceless. It has become more and more of a passion over time and I will literally spend my life saving as many animals as possible and speaking on adoption, volunteering and spay and neuter whenever I possibly can.”
That same year, she also starred in a Kardashian parody called Keeping Up With Cuoco to encourage people to adopt. In the roughly 5-minute-long video, she convinces her stylist, Brad Goreski, to adopt 48 dogs:
She’s also outspoken about a particular dog breed: pit bulls. She has argued on multiple occasions that discriminating against pit bulls is unjustified. In her own words:
“I feel that every dog is inherently good. I think it’s how they’re raised. If they’re raised in a loving home, they’re going to be a loving dog. That’s how I feel. Pit bulls, they were nanny dogs! They took care of babies back in the day so, they’re incredible dogs. I will support them and scream them from the rooftops as long as I live, the best dogs I’ve ever had.”
Kaley rides horses
Unfortunately, Kaley doesn’t just take care of horses, she rides them as well. She has been riding horses since she was 15, and she has said that she’s as serious about it as she is about acting. According to her, everyone in the acting business “should have another life” because the business can be suffocating. “Horseback riding is why I’m so centered, especially in this business. I wouldn’t have my career without it,” she said.
She participates in competitive horseback riding and goes out of her way to keep this separate from her acting career. She even uses an alias when she goes show jumping. At the time she met her current husband, equestrian Karl Cook, he only knew her from horse shows and didn’t know that she was also an actress.
When Karl was asked about the role horseback riding plays in their relationship, he said: “We met each other because of horses. Horses are a big part of our lives individually, and together it’s amplified because it’s something we share, and we can do it together. … We kind of always ride. We’re either riding or getting ready to ride. … When we’re at shows, a lot of the time we’ll be in the same ring riding, and we go on trail rides together, that sort of thing.”
Karl operates the performance side of Pomponio Ranch, which was founded by his mother. Their core business is breeding, raising, selling, and training show jumping horses.
Why treat horses differently?
Kaley’s approach to horses is not in line with her approach to other animals. She’s outspoken about adopting animals instead of buying them from breeders, but she married someone who works on his mother’s horse breeding ranch and she actually supports that.
If anything, breeding these horses should be considered worse than breeding dogs because they’re bred to perform in shows. From the moment they’re born, they’re prepared for a life of carrying humans on their backs who control their every move, just because people are entertained by controlling horses and watching them jump.
Riding horses is not vegan, regardless of whether it’s for shows or not, because, like any other animal, horses deserve to move around freely without anyone on their backs. Many vegans were into horseback riding before they became vegan, but they have since found ways to spend time with horses that don’t involve riding them. Hopefully, Kaley will do the same.
Kaley has promoted vegan fashion
Kaley doesn’t wear fur. She and her stylist Brad have both spoken out against it.
In 2019, Brad said: “I do not wear fur. I do not style with fur. And I’m really, really happy that the fashion world is starting to phase fur out of their collections. That some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, from Versace to Michael Kors to Gucci, so many more, are following suit as well. And I think it’s just such a great, incredible movement that’s happening.” Kaley agreed and added: “To me, it’s the most absurd thing in the world. There’s no need for it. There are so many good materials out there that are vegan and that look gorgeous and that feel delicious.”
The two also teamed up with animal rights organization PETA to make the following video promoting vegan alternatives to leather and cruelty-free fashion in general:
In the video, published in 2019, Kaley shows off a variety of vegan outfits to prove that we can be fashionable without exploiting animals. Near the end she says: “You know Brad and I, we obviously joke around and we laugh and we have a great time, but this does mean a lot to us. We’re not perfect in how we live. We try really, really hard. But we love animals. A little difference can go a long way. Check where your clothes are made.”
Brad adds to that: “And fashion is also always about evolving. It’s always about thinking outside of the box. So, when you are making purchases for your fall, winter, spring, summer, all-season wardrobe, please consider vegan and cruelty-free fashion.”
Kaley’s line “we’re not perfect in how we live” suggests that she still had animal materials in her wardrobe at the time. But in the behind-the-scenes video, she says: “I hope anyone that watches is like: ‘Oh my God, that’s so interesting and I want to start shopping cruelty free.’ And I know that I absolutely will.” So, she may not have bought any non-vegan clothes and accessories since.
Kaley still eats fish
In 2015, Kaley said: “My favorite meal to make these days is gluten-free pasta with vegan butter and veggies.” That could give people the impression that she didn’t eat animal products, but she immediately followed it up with: “I’m not vegan, nor do I have a gluten allergy, but it just feels better in my stomach.”
In 2016, however, she did say that she had given up meat from land animals: “No more meat, I’m like, done.” She also said that she had “always had a connection to all animals” and that “we need to give them all some sort of voice” because “they don’t have a voice.” She was clearly only referring to land animals, though, because in that same interview she talked about eating fish for dinner. And she mentioned eating cheese as well.
She has continued to eat fish and eats it often, as evidenced by an Instagram story she posted in March 2020. The video actually caused a stir because she shamed her assistant after finding mushrooms in her lunch, which she said ruined her appetite. However, little attention was given to the actual lunch: salmon and vegetables.
In the video, she said: “I eat the same thing every day, you guys, by the way. I eat salmon and veggies. It’s my most favorite thing in the entire world.” She then went on to explain how much she hated mushrooms and contemplated whether she should still eat the salmon, which looked “so beautiful,” even though a mushroom had touched it. Eventually, she threw the mushrooms in the trash and ate the salmon.
Fish are animals too
Because fish live underwater and it’s harder for us to relate to them, they’re consistently being given less consideration than other animals. However, research shows that they’re both intelligent and social, and they’re just as capable of experiencing stress, fear, and pain as other animals. More importantly, they want to live and there’s no need for us to take their lives.
So, it doesn’t make sense for Kaley to say that she has a connection to “all animals” and still pay for fish to get killed on a daily basis. It doesn’t make sense for her to describe the dead body of a fish as “beautiful.” And it doesn’t make sense for her to consider eating dead fish her “most favorite thing in the entire world.”
The simple fact is that we can’t claim to love animals while also contributing to their exploitation and death. And while Kaley has taken some important steps, she’s still doing that. So, hopefully, she will cut out fish and other animal products and give up animal materials and horseback riding as well.
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