February 19, 2016
Q&A With Bonnie-Jill Laflin
TV personality speaks out against the dog meat trade
If you’re a fan of Maxim’s annual “Hot 100,” you’re probably a fan of Bonnie-Jill Laflin. In 2005, she made the magazine’s popular list, ranking alongside the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Rebecca Romijn. But the actress, model and former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader is more than a pretty face. She’s a pioneer sportscaster, having worked for networks such as ESPN, CBS and Fox. She was the NBA’s first female scout, and from the U.S. she hosts a sports show broadcast in China, Muho TV, interviewing such athletes as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
Laflin also supports U.S. troops and animal welfare. She’s done 18 Goodwill and USO tours and works with numerous animal protection charities. In 2010, she founded Hounds and Heroes, a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them as service and therapy pets for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In early September, she adopted a dog rescued from the dog meat trade in China, and she plans to rescue more dogs to pair up with veterans. In this edited interview with HSUS staff writer Ruthanne Johnson, Laflin discusses her passion for animals and the newest four-legged addition to her family, Jaclyn Chan.
Why did you adopt a dog rescued from the Chinese dog meat trade?
There are so many cats and dogs here in shelters who need homes. But what these dogs in the meat trade go through is torture. It became something I wanted people in America to know. Jaclyn is an ambassador against the trade. When people meet her, I get to share her story.
How is Jaclyn adjusting?
She was in a small little cage with her brother on the dog meat truck heading to slaughter. You would think after that experience she would be nervous. But she gets along great with my other dog and three cats. Every day, you can just tell she’s happy that she’s here and alive. She lights up my world.
How have Chinese fans responded to your advocacy against the dog meat trade?
About 90 percent of them ask me not to think of the whole country as condoning the practice. It’s really just a small community. The fans I hear from say how much they want to ban the dog meat trade. I grew up on a ranch. So for me, I see horses, cows, pigs and chickens the way people see their dogs and cats. People in the U.S. care so much about what’s happening to dogs in China, but the same thing happens to animals raised in factory farms. It’s just as cruel.
How has working as a woman in the pro sports industry influenced your advocacy?
There are so many stereotypes. Being attractive and having been a cheerleader and then a model and activist, that sometimes made it harder. I’ve had to prove myself. It’s the same fighting to protect animals. I have to press forward, even when people hate on me. It makes me who I am. But I would rather be someone who stands up for things than someone who doesn’t stand up for anything at all.