Hayden Panettiere and HSUS President Wayne Pacelle. Photo by Vince Bucci / Getty

Hayden Panettiere and HSUS President Wayne Pacelle. Photo by Vince Bucci / Getty

This may not be the biggest animal rights news of the year, but it’s still pretty cool. Actress and animal activist Hayden Panettiere recently halted shooting on her show Heroes after she accused a crew member of being cruel to birds nesting in a nearby tree. Hayden was apparently upset when a crew member used a large leaf-blower to knock the birds out of the tree because the birds were disturbing filming of the series. Hayden reportedly shouted at the worker: “What are you doing? How would you like someone to blow that thing inside your house?”

 

The actress insisted the birds were only flying in front of the camera to get back to their nest. Her objections were reportedly so strenuous that the director eventually decided to move the scene to another location.

This is not the first time Hayden has been in the news for defending animals. In 2007, she joined a group of peaceful protestors in an effort to save a group of pilot whales (who are part of the dolphin family) and faced violent opposition from some Japanese fishermen. The confrontation took place in the sea off Taiji, an historic whaling town. She and five other protesters paddled out on surfboards in an attempt to stop the whales from being driven into a nearby cove and killed in Japan’s annual slaughter of the animals.

 

In March 2008, the Humane Society of the United States honored Hayden with the Gretchen Wyler Award, given annually at the Genesis Awards to a celebrity who brings attention to animal causes. She has also won the Compassion in Action award from PETA.

 

Hayden’s actions no doubt inspire her fans to consider the welfare of animals they might otherwise not think twice about ― and maybe even stand up to the bullies who abuse them.