CAA's 2011 Annual Review
In 2011, Compassionate Action for Animals continued outreach by holding their second annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off, leafleting to over 12,000 people, and handing out over 14,500 Vegan Starter Kits.
Please read about our 2011 accomplishments below. You can also download the PDF version of the 2011 review.
The plight of the animals that we advocate for is as dire as ever. Chickens raised for laying eggs are crammed into cages so small that they can't spread their wings. They all reach the end of their lives with their untimely slaughter.
But our persistence in speaking out for them is paying off, we're part of a growing movement that cares about how animals are treated. More people are paying attention to the brutal realities of factory farming. Vegan food, restaurants, and cookbooks are gaining popularity. The result is that fewer animals will suffer because of our work.
Thank you for being a part of this change, for speaking out about animal abuse, for choosing plant-based foods, and for helping us reach a wider receptive audience.
Our outreach continues as strong as ever. We reach a broad population of young adults to find people who are open to learning about factory farming and compassionate alternatives.
Our leafleting program handed out more than 12,000 leaflets in 2011, getting the message out about the cruelties of animal agriculture and the plant-based alternative. At concerts and colleges, our volunteers show a friendly face to the public
We made a renewed effort to work with the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to get more veg options in the residential dining halls.
We conducted a petition drive asking for an all-vegetarian meal once per week at one of the dining halls and got exactly what we asked for!
Starting in 2012, at least for one month, the University of Minnesota will have an all-vegetarian meal every week. This will save the lives of hundreds of animals and also engage students in trying new vegetarian foods.
We distributed 14,504 Vegetarian Starter Kits through our website, continuing our efforts to give the resources that people need to transition to vegetarianism. Through a generous grant from Google, we are able to reach thousands of people across the country.
We conducted our annual Vegan Food Showcase in September at the University of Minnesota, where we handed out 1,500 samples of vegan meats, coconut ice cream, and many other vegan treats to the public.
Warmly received, we were able to educate the University of Minnesota community about factory farming. We secured 237 Pledges to be Veg.
We also started planning our first ever Veg Fest! In July of 2012, we will host a fun event with speakers, food, and exhibitors, and hope to draw over 1,000 people to engage with them on plant-based eating. We're excited to try something new for us and for the Twin Cities.
Our Bridges of Respect program reached nearly 2000 students in local schools with over 50 presentations on factory farming, plant-based eating, environmental issues, and critical thinking. We've worked to inspire a younger generation to challenge the values and practices that lead to animal cruelty.
We held 6 cooking classes in 2011, covering a wide variety of topics including seasonal fall foods, gluten-free holiday treats, appetizers and party foods, and much more. Empowering people to cook their own healthy, affordable, and tasty animal-free foods, our cooking classes are taught by volunteer chefs and are usually free.
We hosted our 8th annual Veg Week, and as usual hosted a dine-out, potluck, cooking-class, and more. Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States kicked off Veg Week by giving a presentation on the progress that farm animals are making across the country through state and national ballot initiatives and legislation. It was exciting to learn that there's a greater interest than ever about the treatment of animals.
Our VegGuide.org website, an online resource for veg-friendly restaurants and shopping, grew quite a bit in 2011. Contributors to the site added 2,307 new entries over the course of the year. The site also grew to over 9,500 users, 11,000 reviews and 18,000 ratings.
VegGuide.org has great coverage for restaurants in most of North America, as well as Australia and much of Europe. In 2011, we saw excellent growth in new entries for Austria, Italy, Portugal, and Poland, among many others.
Beyond finding people who are interested in our message and educating them about animal cruelty and vegan diets, we hosted a number of community-building events.
These events give people the opportunity to meet with other animal-friendly people so that they can have the support they need to move towards or maintain a vegan diet.
Our annual Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck was a big success, with over 120 people attending. With live classical guitar music in the background, we shared excellent vegan food in a relaxed environment. We hosted a recipe exchange this year to help people make the recipes at their families' Thanksgiving dinners.
We hosted our Second Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off. We moved to a larger venue, the Seward Community Cafe, but once again it was so popular that it was overcrowded. Nine contestants entered their special vegan chili and attendees determined their favorite. We continue to lead the way in creating an animal-friendly culture.
We hosted 22 dineouts and Vegan After Dark events at veg-friendly restaurants including Fasika, Everest on Grand, and Ecopolitan. These dineouts exposed people to the wonderful vegan cuisine that's available - but too often unknown or under appreciated - all over the Twin Cities.
Danielle Smith, our Director of Volunteer Programs, stepped down at the end of the summer, and we promoted Unny Nambudiripad asthe Executive Director.
Unny co-founded CAA in 1998 and has served a wide variety of roles since our inception including setting the strategic direction of the organization, conducting outreach, investigating cruelty at factory farms, and managing volunteers. He also has extensive fundraising, organizing, and management experience at many other nonprofits. We're excited to have his full-time efforts devoted to helping animals.
Danielle continued her involvement by transitioning to our Board of Directors.
Letter From A Volunteer
It wasn't until I took in a stray cat that I started thinking seriously about animals. That cat means a lot to me and it became hard for me to see why I would care so much about that cat but not about other animals. I started looking into the cruelties of factory farming and about refraining from eating animals, and I decided to become vegan. As I explored these issues, I found myself thinking that if others knew the things I was finding out they'd be in a good position to make compassionate choices. And the more people making these choices the better things would be for animals. This is what led me to think of animal advocacy as important.
I attended CAA's VegWeek in October 2011. There I heard a fantastic talk by Paul Shapiro on some of the harms animals suffer in factory farms but also on some of the successes in the movement. I went to a cooking class that helped me see what to do with new ingredients like silken tofu. At the dine outs I met lots of interesting people and sampled delicious food at vegan friendly restaurants I didn't know about. I was struck in all this by CAA's ability to reach out to people about making compassionate choices in such a friendly, informative, and comprehensive way. I wanted to be a part of it.
I met with Unny, CAA's executive director, and he worked with me to find ways I could help. As a result, I signed on to serve as the sponsorship coordinator on the Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee. Though I'm still getting my feet wet as an animal advocate, the folks in CAA have been helpful and supportive and I find my volunteer work with them immensely rewarding.
Compassionate Action for Animals would like to publicly thank our top donors for their support of our work. These listings are based on two years of donation history, from January, 2010 through December, 2011.
Animal Guardians ($1,000+ cumulative)
- Dave Chizek
- Brad Johnson
- Lisa Kimball
- Matt Mackall
- Godan and Savithry Nambudiripad
- Dave Rolsky
- Joan and Jared Rolsky
- Suzanne Sorensen
- John Thompson
Animal Protectors ($500-999 cumulative)
- Sharad Deshpande
- Harish Sethu
- Valerie Stoehr
- Jan Taksa
- Valerie Tiberius
- Becky Waller Bausman
Animal Allies ($200-499 cumulative)
- Carla Blumberg
- Marly Cornell and Ernie Feil
- George Christopher Deden
- Sharad Deshpande
- Kedar Deshpande
- Angela Gilchrist
- Jan Gonder
- Martha Gorak
- Evan Kelley
- Joel Kurtzberg
- Justin Leaf
- Ginny Messina
- Steven Palacios
- Lisa Vague
- Michael Williamsen
- Claudia Wondra
|- General Outreach||$2,195|
|- Bridges of Respect||$1,125|
|- Veg Week 2011||$1,985|
|- Farm to Fridge Distribution||$600|
|- Thanksgiving Potluck||$528|