Brief History of CAA
Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) was formed in early 1998 in order to pursue a specific strategy of animal protection activism called "strategic nonviolence", which among its principles includes nonviolence, openness, and persistence. These principles of strategic nonviolence are reflected in our current core values. Previously, most of the founders had been involved with the University of Minnesota student animal advocacy group, Students Organization for Animals Rights (SOAR).
The name Compassionate Action for Animals was adopted in May of 1998. In June of 1999, CAA merged with the Animal Liberation League, which was founded by Freeman Wicklund, as both groups were doing similar activities and had similar philosophies.
In 1999, CAA began working on its Ban Battery Cages campaign, which culminated in the open rescue of over ten egg-laying hens from a battery cage facility, the first such rescue in the US. CAA's investigation and rescue campaign was based on a similar campaign which was first done by Animal Liberation Victoria in Australia.
In July of 2002, Chris Patterson founded a CAA chapter in Richmond, Virginia. In March of 2003, David Evans, Ramona Ilea, and Greg Oschwald founded our third chapter, at the University of Minnesota. That chapter has since grown to encompass all of our Twin Cities activities, both on and off campus.
We hosted our first Veg Week event in 2004, a series of events oriented around the Pledge to be Veg, where we ask people to pledge to be vegetarian or vegan for a week. In 2008, we hosted our first conference, Their Lives, Our Voices, which ran once a year from 2008 through 2010.
In 2010, we had our biggest food giveaway ever, handing out 27,000 samples of free vegan food to attendees at Grand Old Day in Saint Paul.
In 2012, we hosted the first Twin Cities Veg Fest. Over 1,200 people attended. Exhibitors included food vendors, exhibitors offering food samples, and a variety of other businesses and non-profits. We also offered a series of presentation by local and national speakers, as well as a kid's area. Survey responses from attendees and exhibitors were overwhelmingly positive.