Jenna Dewan-Tatum's Other Leading Man: Rescued Pig Zeus
08/20/2012 AT 09:30 AM EDT
Her affection for Zeus, an abused pig rescued by animal sanctuary The Gentle Barn from a fair, began when she read his story.
"It stuck with me," the actress, 31, tells Self magazine, which highlights Dewan-Tatum as one of 2012's Women Doing Good.
So she sponsored Zeus, a $30 commitment once a month.
But then she visited the Barn, where she met farm animals in need, and "my time there was transformative," she says.
"When I'm passionate about something, I have to take action," she says. "If we can't make the world a better place, than why are we here?"
Indeed, people can make a difference – one bite at a time. "Even little things, like having one meatless meal a day, can make a huge difference." She also encourages fans to sponsor animals and volunteer at the Barn.
Adds Dewan-Tatum, who has two dogs at home: "Who says animals don't have feelings? Animals and people are connected. We have to treat each other with compassion."
For Dewan-Tatum, this compassion spans back to a time long before she ever met her Magic Mike hunk (and upcoming on-screen romantic interest). "I've always been an animal lover," she says.