Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mercy for Animals

Today's Vegan Thing I Like is one of the most inspiring, incredible forces in the world of veganism today: Mercy for Animals! Their work, vision, and reach is simply staggering to me. Mercy for Animals advocates for farmed animals on a variety of platforms, promoting veganism to individuals and businesses, as well as conducting undercover investigations that launch legal battles to improve the lives of farmed animals. While, ultimately, I believe the goal is that of liberation for all farmed animals, there are steps to be taken on the road to that destination in order for society as a whole to get on board and MFA is doing that work.

Last weekend, I had the great honor to attend a Mercy for Animals fundraiser in Hollywood where an award was presented to Emily Deschanel in recognition of her work for farmed animals. Emily was gracious and lovely and shared her platform with some of the animals' biggest heroes: MFA's founder, lead investigator, and general counsel. These people are part of something so big. MFAs founder, Nathan Runkle, founded MFA when he was 15 years old and, at age 28 he is now heading an organization that is fighting billion-dollar industries -- and, as he pointed out in his short speech, frequently winning. As he said, quoting from Mahatma Gandhi, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Right now, the animal agriculture industry is fighting Mercy for Animals hard, going as far as to influence lawmakers to introduce Ag-Gag laws - legislation that would make it illegal for Mercy for Animals to continue their work of exposing the worst abuses of farmed animals, some of the most vulnerable creatures on the planet, as well as uncovering major health and safety violations that affect humans and the environment. MFA continues to fight this kind of legislation, as well as to release new investigations which point out how vital is that they not be enacted. The American people deserve to know what is going on in their name (you buy it, you're funding it).

I can't say enough good things about this organization and I hope that you will support them and their important, amazing work in any way that you are able. Watch the video below for some information on what MFA does and keep an eye out for the work that they continue to do. These videos always ensure that I never leave an MFA fundraiser without crying. Some from the undercover footage shown, but more from how inspired and touched I am that this is all happening. In the future, will the struggle to liberate farmed animals be seen in the same light as the many human-rights movements of our past? I believe so, and that those in support of this work are on the right side of history.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cafe Gratitude LA

I am currently in Southern California in order to attend Mercy for Animals' Justice for All party tonight in Hollywood. I love MFA and am so glad that we were able to help sponsor this party and I'm still floored that we're attending. Most of our travel involves visiting health food stores and VegFests, which I LOVE, but which does not involve a fancy dress. This is truly something new.

At any rate, we are staying at a guest house over someone's garage in the Hollywood Hills that I found on airbnb and about to start getting ready for party time. This morning, we woke up, lazed around (for the first time in a long time), and then headed over to Cafe Gratitude LA for some lunch. I had heard about this place extensively, but never eaten there. All of the menu items are named "I am..." followed by an attribute like grateful, thriving, pleasant, etc. When they deliver your food, they say "you are..." and the menu item you ordered. Kind of touchy-feely, but also pretty nice!

So, for my first visit to Cafe Gratitude, I was Fortified (Sauteed seasonal vegetables and kale, brown rice & quinoa, topped with sesame-ginger sauce and avocado) and Worthy (Kale, beet, celery, apple and ginger juice). The juice was good and reasonably priced and the bowl was amazing. So much food that I'm not sure how I finished it. It felt very fortifying, delicious, and energizing. Highly recommended!

This restaurant strongly suggests that people with nut allergies not eat there as they use nuts in so many menu items, but I just avoided ordering anything with nuts in it. I don't have an allergy that prohibits me from eating where nuts are present. It did prevent me from ordering any dessert however, but my partner was happily Awakening (Key lime torte). He was also Awesome (Herb-cornmeal crusted eggplant parmesan on toasted Panini with marinara sauce, cashew ricotta, sliced tomatoes, arugula and basil. Served with a side salad), but what's new? I've known that for years.