Shane and Sia Barbi–the bodacious and perhaps outrageous, world famous pin-up girls from the 90’s–have pretty much given up show business. They never did take themselves seriously nor were they seeking a life of fame and wealth.
They are, however, well aware of the power of celebrity.
To know them they are quite shy, humble, and share a self-deprecating sense of humor that makes them most approachable, if you can find them. As reclusive and private as they are, they have dedicated their lives to animal welfare causes and anti-cruelty advocacy. In fact, that is all they do now.
Along with Shane’s husband, Ken Wahl, they have championed many animal causes and most recently teamed up with Willie Nelson to oppose lifting the ban on horse slaughter. To no avail the six-year-old ban was lifted last December.
I personally remain neutral on the issue. As a strong advocate of zoos and zoo animal welfare, I’m aware that zoo animals are some of the largest consumers of horse meat. Hence, I defer to zoo nutritionists and veterinarians on appropriate meat sources for zoo carnivores (carnivorans) and raptors. Some zoos choose to feed horse meat and others have or are shifting to a beef diet.
The Barbi twins and I agree to disagree on a lot of issues, but I certainly commend them for doing their homework. They vehemently oppose horse slaughter on the grounds that horses weren’t bred for human consumption. I did not ask them to comment on zoo animal consumption of horse meat, but I pretty much know where they stand.
The Barbi twins assert that “horses were bred and domesticated to be companion animals like a dog or cat. They also served as working animals on farms, and provided transport for people. They also risked their lives in wartime.”
They are adamantly opposed to both slaughter and wild horse round-ups, considering both activities to be blatant forms of animal cruelty. Sia said that “The helicopter round-ups spook the horses so they end up badly injured or trampled to death. Pregnant horses may even abort foals in these stampedes. And the remaining horses often die from hunger, thirst, or overcrowding in holding pens.”
Shane added that “most importantly, we are vegans mostly because there is no such thing as humane slaughter–that is an oxymoron.”
Again, we agree to disagree, but I applaud them for their passion and ambition to really study the issues.
Today, they are more known for their activism then they are for their work in front of the camera, perhaps, drawing a whole new demographic of fans. Along with Willie Nelson, they continue to fight for horse welfare and support the equine and companion animal initiatives of the Animal Welfare Institute.
Shane and Sia are former equestrians, but they have given up the hobby to focus on equine welfare and rescue and other animal causes from wildlife issues to companion animal concerns.