TV host Ellen Degeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi have been honoured at a Humane Society event for their dedication to animal rights.

Ellen came out as a vegan last October and the couple had an animal product-free wedding in August.

Portia described Ellen’s disgust at her fur coat the first time they met, saying that Ellen’s leather shoes made her realise all animals are equal.

According to AP, Ellen said: “It really is so much easier to say, ‘I can’t think about it. I really don’t want to know about it. It’s horrible.’

“And when we finally took the time to force ourselves to look at the reality of the lives of these poor animals, you can’t ignore it. ‘Yeah, but I want a cheeseburger so badly. I don’t want to look at that.’

“If people understood that it is a feeling, thinking, loving, innocent being that was created by the same thing that created us. They have every right to have a free life.”

She added: “I know that being a public figure, the more labels I add to myself, the more I risk alienating people.

“But I’m openly gay and that’s worked out OK. So now I’m openly vegan and I will do everything I can to help. Thank you very much.”

The evening’s awards were dedicated to ending the Canadian seal hunts.

Last week, Arrested Development actress Portia appeared in a short clip on the Jimmy Kimmel show to send up opponents of gay marriage.

Standing in front of her wedding portrait, de Rossi said: “When I got married, all I was thinking about was my own joy at committing to my partner for the rest of my life. I didn’t think about all the people I was hurting by getting married. That was selfish.”