Saturday night I was honored to sit among an absolutely amazing group of people at the Farm Sanctuary Gala in New York City. It was the organization’s 25th anniversary Gala. That’s 25 years of changing the world. Changes that will be everlasting. The changes started with Gene Baur.
After graduating with a degree in sociology from Cal State Northridge, Baur got involved in human rights, animal rights & environmental causes. After seeing the awful, cruel conditions taking place on factory farms & in slaughterhouses Baur just couldn’t stay quiet. He wanted to make a change. This is what prompted him to start Farm Sanctuary in 1986. Farm Sanctuary’s first rescue in 1986 was Hilda.
The little lady was a downed sheep thrown on a Lancaster, PA stockyard dead pile. Farm Sanctuary scooped her up, gave her care and love. From there Hilda thrived. She spent 11 glorious years, free and happy, at the organization’s New York shelter.
In 1997 Hilda died of old age. A much happier death then she was about to face on the dead pile.
Hilda was the first of thousands of animals Farm Sanctuary has rescued. These rescues though are part of a much bigger movement. Because of investigations into cruelty cases like that of Hilda’s, Farm Sanctuary, in it’s 25 years, has helped propose laws that have changed the factory farming industry. Voters have embraced these changes, getting to voice their opinions on ballots. Ballots, which have led to laws that have definitely improved things for the animals. There is still a lot more that has to be done to protect these innocent animals. Everyday animals are suffering greatly in factory farms as they are treated like an object, not a living, feeling, caring being. The hope is others will read more about Farm Sanctuary and other organizations like this. With that knowledge we all can make a change. The easiest thing you can do is stop supporting factory farms. That means giving up meat. This is easy, trust me (see below)! Next you can write to lawmakers demanding better laws to protect animals. Again something very easy to do, especially thanks to email. It takes just a minute to send an email. This also means always voting to help the animals when these types of issues are on ballots. Lastly you can support organizations like Farm Sanctuary by donating.
Now more on the Gala and the fabulous people & food that filled the night. Wendie Malick & Fred Willard hosted the event.
Presenters included the Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg and actor Eric Roberts.
I think the funniest moment of the night came from comedian Carol Leifer who said she became a vegan because as a Jewish lesbian, she wasn’t part of a small enough group!
Of course those of us who don’t eat meat are becoming a bigger group though. As I said earlier it is very easy to stop eating meat. Our food options are so plentiful now! I went to culinary school to prove this and I did learn that the options are endless. During the Gala’s cocktail reception we feasted on veggie franks in a blanket, white truffle pate on crostini, phyllo cup with porcini mushrooms. Then after sitting down we ate a salad made up of heirloom tomatoes, hearts of romaine, fava beans and olive tapenade on grissini with balsamic vinaigrette.The second course was a very tasty ravioli with a vegan cheese and spring vegetables, tomatoes, chickpeas and scallions. The entree was a Parmesan mushroom cutlet with roasted asparagus and polenta. Dessert was courtesy of Vegan Treats, a bakery in Pennsylvania that will now be at the center of a show soon to be shown on Animal Planet. Their super cute mini cakes came in many different flavors. Trust me when I say all of the above food was delicious. Just as good (or I think even better) than any meat dish out there.
So there you go! What I hope my story here illustrates is that you don’t need to eat meat for ethical reason or for taste reasons. It’s plain and simple, life without meat is a great one. One that makes a difference.
Here’s to Farm Sanctuary and YOU making even more of a difference in the next 25 years too!