James Gunn named PETA's Person of the Year 2023

Director James Gunn has been named PETA's Person of the Year 2023.

The 'Guardians of the Galaxy' moviemaker has been honoured by the animal rights group for his use of CGI creatures in his films and storylines which shine a light on animal testing - as well as his devotion to rescuing pets from shelters.

PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said: "By telling the story of the millions of vulnerable animals abused in experiments, James Gunn has shown himself to be a true animal guardian. PETA is delighted to honour him for encouraging exactly what the world needs: empathy for all living beings."

A message posted on the PETA website added: "PETA is honouring DC Studios’ co-CEO James Gunn for speaking up for animals in all facets of his life, from fiercely promoting adoption and featuring computer-generated animals in his films to using his knack for cinematic storytelling to expose the torture that animals endure in laboratories to millions of viewers worldwide."

The statement went on: "With an estimated 70 million homeless dogs and cats in the U.S. alone, adoption is the only responsible option when it comes to welcoming an animal companion into your home.

"A devoted dad of two adopted dogs, Ozu and River, and a cat named Emily, rescued by Gunn as a stray, the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' director showcases his real-life superhero spirit by passionately advocating for adoption to his millions of followers on social media."

James adopted Ozu in May 2022 and told the pooch's story in an emotional post on Instagram, writing: "Less than two months ago, Ozu, after spending his whole life outside in a horde of 50 dogs, would hide from me, wouldn’t let me touch him, and wouldn’t eat, drink, or pee in front of me. Today this is his face when he sees me and he doesn't leave my side."