Remembering Neena Gada

March 25, 2024

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Neena Gada on the 6th of January, 2024. Neena, and her husband Ram, have long supported CAA and been pillars of the local Jain and Indian communities.

Neena’s life

Born in 1942, Neena’s life was a testament of devotion, unwavering strength, and selfless service.

A true icon of resilience, Neena was known for her kind-hearted nature. Throughout her life, her vivacious spirit and unwavering optimism uplifted those around her. Neena’s life was defined by her love for others, and she spent much of her time making a positive impact on the lives of those she cared for.

Neena’s passion for education and the importance of culture was vividly evident throughout her life. She believed that education was the most powerful tool to change the world, and she dedicated a significant portion of her life to this cause, working to establish centers of Indian education in Minnesota.

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Why Have a Crate-Free Petition for Minnesota’s Farmed Animals?

An example of some of the conditions chickens have to endure on factory farms.

There are many reasons to support a crate-free policy for Minnesota’s farmed animals. The majority of Minnesota farmed animals are raised on factory farms, also known as Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and are treated terribly. These farms also harm Minnesota’s residents and water quality.

Together, we can change Minnesota’s policies and/or laws to improve conditions starting this year. Below are ways to take action as an individual or as an organization.

We encourage you to sign and support this crate-free petition for the reasons outlined below. This article also shares what practices towards animals, people, and the environment won’t change as a result of the changes this petition calls for.

Treatment of Minnesota’s Farmed Animals

The animals we raise for food have family relationships and basic needs just like all other animals, including humans! 

Most Minnesotans want to see changes in how these animals are treated. The petition and legislation calls for these ideas:

  • Mother pigs should not be put in crates/cages that prevent them from getting up while feeding their children.
  • Chickens should not be forced to live in small battery cages where they are stuffed in with other chickens and cannot spread their wings.
  • Baby calves should not be forced to live in tiny veal crates that they can only exit via a short rope staked to the ground.

Changes in these practices would end a great deal of suffering for the over 90 million animals raised for food in Minnesota. We urge you to sign this petition today.

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Breaking News: Supreme Court Sides with Animals in Historic Prop 12 Decision!

On May 11, 2023 the U.S. Supreme Court sided with animals, upholding Prop 12 despite fierce industry challenges.

It’s an enormous step forward for animals. 

Prop 12 was passed by voters in California, and requires that all meat sold in California meet animal welfare standards. 

Specifically, it says that pigs, calves and hens raised for food need to have enough space to turn around.

It’s far reaching because it impacts the living standards of animals across the country whose bodies might end up on California grocery store shelves.

Help us increase the impact of this decision in Minnesota by signing our petition for a moratorium on factory farming. If you’ve already signed, please share the link with a friend by hitting the “Like” or “Tweet” button below or texting the petition link to a friend.

Prop 12 happened in California because voters signed a petition putting the measure on the ballot. 

Our petition is the first step in educating Minnesota legislators and the public on the issues. We already have over 200 signatures and want to have at least 1,000 to share.

Thanks for being one of the people who helps make change happen!

We’re Hiring a Part-Time Program Assistant

Program Assistant

Position Overview

Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) is currently hiring a 10-hours-per-week Program Assistant to begin in February 2022, with a pay rate of $15 per hour. This role offers an opportunity to expand advocacy for farmed animals in the Twin Cities metro and greater Minnesota. This position can be done entirely in the CAA office and at event locations, or can be done as a hybrid of office, home, and on-location work. 

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Thanksgiving Gratitude from Isolation

by Laura Matanah, Executive Director

As the Executive Director of Minnesota’s largest farmed animal advocacy organization, I can’t help but reflect on the ways my experience of isolation following a positive COVID test is similar and different to the life of a turkey raised for the Thanksgiving table. To help us picture an individual, I’ll use the name Big Tom. I got this name from the name of the giant sculpted turkey outside of Frazee, MN. (Why is the sculpture there? Minnesota produces 45 million turkeys a year, more than any other state). Here I’ll describe the life of the Big Tom who lives in one of the sheds just off Minnesota Highway 10.

Frazee, Minnesota’s “Big Tom” sculpture

Big Tom and I are both closed off from the rest of the world. I have to be alone, but I’m in my comfortable room. My isolation lasts only ten days. My family helps from beyond the door. Big Tom has been in the same windowless shed since he was a young poult. Rather than being alone, he’s with thousands of other birds.The only light he gets is artificial, turned on to encourage him to eat, but kept low to discourage fighting with the stressed males around him. Droppings aren’t cleaned until after the turkeys leave for slaughter, so after four months, it reeks of ammonia despite the ventilation.

Big Tom gets disease protection from the antibiotics in his feed, a practice which also weakens the protection humans get from antibiotics. (In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines calling for the elimination of routine use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, including for disease prevention purposes, but the U.S. has taken no action.)

But those antibiotics won’t protect him from the virus stalking him: bird flu. Bird Flu is now starting to outbreak in Europe and Asia. ( Frighteningly, it could become our next pandemic as well. The CDC is already preparing. (

Many of us here in Minnesota get to see turkeys in the wild, and know they generally live in groups. Mothers and their young band together, living communally. This is a bit like my multi-generational household: all of us get more adults to share the responsibility of raising the young. Turkeys like Big Tom don’t get maternal care, however, just an incubator replaced by a shed filled with other un-mothered young like themselves.

Big Tom’s food and water wouldn’t vary, but would be steady. Because, of course, the point is for Big Tom to grow, and grow fast. If a human baby grew at the same rate as Big Tom, it would weigh 1,500 pounds by the age of 18 weeks!

Due to this high rate of growth, Big Tom is at high risk for abnormal gait, hip lesions, and skeletal disease. And if these issues eventually make it hard for him to get to his food and drink? Well, vet care for these issues isn’t cost effective, and losses are part of the business model.

Penny, who lived at Spring Farm Sanctuary, in Long Lake, got to live a very different life. There, his cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality were valued. His caregivers knew how to read her emotions by looking at his snood (the piece of flesh that dangles a bit over and alongside the beak). He could be with other birds and humans when he wished or retreat to his own private space of his own choosing, just like I can when not in isolation.

Due to antibiotics, bird flu, and the damage being done to human health by the overconsumption of animal products, our well being and that of Minnesota 45 million turkeys are intertwined. Processed turkey (cold cuts) have been determined to be a carcinogen by the World Health Organization ( Research shows that leaving Big Tom off our plate is likely to improve our personal health– now, not just in a future in which we are able to count on antibiotics and don’t suffer a bird flu pandemic.

According to the American Dietetic Association, shifting plant-based can help slow or reverse issues like heart disease and diabetes. ( Many consumers are making the change, with the Hartman group reporting that nearly half of consumers look for foods labeled “plant-based” when shopping. (

As we approach this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my returning health, my family, and wealth of delicious plant-based dishes that can help us to spare Big Tom from a lifetime of suffering by leaving him off our plates.

CAA Launches New Youth-Serving Partnership

CAA Community Organizer Tamuno Imbu has just built a new partnership to serve youth of color with The Link. The Link was founded in 1991 by two local Black leaders and former Minnesota Vikings players, Jim Marshall and Oscar Reed. The organization was established to help youth on the Northside of Minneapolis who were struggling with poverty, homelessness, getting victimized by crime or recruited into criminal activity. Grounded in community, The Link’s driving philosophy was to do “whatever it took” to help young people on the Northside. 

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The 2021 Twin Cities Vegan Comfort Food Challenge Champion

Minneapolis-based Reverie Cafe and Bar’s “Long Haul Burger” impressed voters and earned top honors in this year’s challenge.

The chefs and founders of Reverie, Kirsten Wiegmann and Jeffery Therkelsen, are the official Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Champions. Kirsten and Jeff were awarded a $150 cash prize and certificate, presented at a special online ceremony on March 20.

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