Unny Nambudiripad

Unny is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Compassionate Action for Animals. Please see his biography.

Undercover Investigations

I’m trying out a new format for this Weekly Update. Let me know what you think!

I hope to see you at our free Holiday Cooking Class this Saturday at 4 pm. It’s a great opportunity to prepare for the holidays by learning recipes you can make for your friends.

Here’s two recent undercover investigations from our friends at Compassion Over Killing. As a result of one of the investigations, they charged farm workers with a crime — and then they charged the investigator as well! The other investigation was right here in Minnesota.

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad
Executive Director

COK Uncovers Animal Abuse in Colorado and Minnesota

In several recent undercover investigations, Compassion Over Killing exposed animal abuse in Colorado and Minnesota. In the Colorado case, the investigator has been indicted on charges of witnessing animal abuse.

In 2013, a Compassion Over Killing investigator went undercover at Quanah Cattle Co. in Kersey, CO. This particular company purchases newborn male calves from dairy factories and then confines them before sending them off to be raised for their meat. The undercover investigator uncovered severe animal abuse that included dragging, pulling, kicking, throwing, and flipping the calves out of the trucks that they had been shipped in.

When the investigator turned over their video footage to local authorities, three employees who participated in the violence were brought up on charges of animal abuse. However, the investigator was also brought up on charges of witnessing animal abuse and reporting it. The county's charges show that the ties to agribusiness go much deeper than just the industry itself, and that the problem of animal cruelty is incredibly complex.

In a separate investigation by COK, investigators went undercover at Hargin, Inc, a Minnesota turkey breeding farm. The investigators uncovered incredibly cruel and filthy living conditions, as well as forcible artificial insemination. The video footage shows birds getting caught in the poorly maintained equipment and suffering life-threatening injuries.

While the good news is that turkey production is projected to drop 5% in 2013, it still means that more than 45 million turkeys will be killed for their meat during the holiday season alone. You can help bring an end to animal cruelty such as this by moving towards a plant-based diet.

Help Animals During the Holiday Season

Can you make a donation to Compassionate Action to Animals?

As the holidays get closer and we draw our family and friends near we are reminded that most animals are not as fortunate. On today's factory farms animals often spend their lives alone in bare cages after being separated from their families. At Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) we recognize their hardships and want to help make the world a more compassionate place by encouraging people to embrace their empathy. Could you please help us help animals by donating $10, $25, or $50 today?

We recently hosted our biggest event to date, the 2013 Twin Cities Veg Fest. This free festival showcased nearly 50 exhibitors and food vendors for over 2,000 attendees. Vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike were able to indulge in free vegan food samples, enjoy a concert, get body art, and learn about the motivations and virtues of veganism from nationally renowned speakers like Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals. Twin Cities Veg Fest also featured local speakers from Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling, and Compassionate Action for Animals. At CAA's Paid Per View we paid people $1 to watch video footage depicting the suffering that animals endure on the modern farm. We're looking forward to next year already and so are the attendees. Here are a few survey responses:

"We never realized that vegan food could be so delicious."

"Awesome event! Very nice people!"

"I thought that it was SUPER inspiring and exciting to see so many people at a veg event in MN!"

"Being away from the veg-scene while continuing to eat vegetarian, you stop thinking about why you're doing what you're doing as much, so it was re-invigorating being 'in the culture' again. It's motivated me to transition to a vegan diet, too."

Exhibitors have also told us how happy they were with the event. Our exhibitors offered samples of delicacies such as vegan honey, gourmet nut milk cheeses, and marshmallows made without the gelatin. Other exhibitors came to share information about animals, sell products, and show off their arts and crafts.

The food vendors were nearly sold out by the end of the day and after trying some of the dishes it was easy to see why. With more than 20 options, attendees had a lot of choices. Asase Yaa served Tofu Khebab Masala and power smoothies. Seward Cafe offered a wide variety of vegan baked goods. Flamingo Restaurant provided delicious Ethiopian lentil and vegetable dishes in generous portions. For a unique dessert Kitty Corner Caf

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013 Sponsors

Thanks to all of our sponsors for supporting our second Twin Cities Veg Fest! Please consider patronizing these generous organizations.


Kenny Feldman In Memory of Kenny A. Feldman

Carole and Stan Feldman are sponsoring the Twin Cities Veg Fest in memory of their late son, Kenny A. Feldman. Kenny was passionate about music and about animals. He enjoyed a variety of music and sought out new and innovative sounds. He loved spending time with his companion animals and believed in a better world for all animals.

Read CAA Executive Director Unny Nambudirpad's blog post about Kenny.

Yelp Logo Yelp

Yelp is a website and mobile app that connects people with great local businesses, including the best vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants and shops in the Twin Cities. Use Yelp online or on your smartphone to search for nearby hot spots, post amateur food photography, sign up for the Weekly Yelp, check out the events calendar and share tips and reviews of the places you love in your neighborhood and beyond!


Way Better Snacks Way Better Snacks

Way Better Snacks Sprouted Tortilla Chips are bursting with goodness because we've unlocked the powerful nutrients found in perfect, unprocessed ingredients. It seems like a super-secret scientific miracle that sprouted food could have such incredible benefits, but it's really very simple… and natural. Research has confirmed what has been known for centuries – seeds, grains and beans are outstanding nutritional food sources. What's lessor known is they are difficult to digest and their nutrients are poorly absorbed. This means they can be eaten, pass through the body and still grow into a plant. So, when a person consumes whole flaxseeds there is actually little nutritional benefit. In addition, the seed is whole, and when it comes to the absorption and digestion of nutrients, the smaller the particle, the better the digestion.

Sprouting biologically activates the seed. It creates enzymes which start the seed on its way to becoming a plant. When seeds begin to grow, the natural enzyme inhibitors that protect them are no longer present. It also reduces or eliminates all of the other anti-nutrients found in raw seeds. Adding these quality, super-ingredients to our chips makes them a powerful, yet delicious snack. We're proud to be certified Gluten Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, Vegan and made in the USA.


Food Freedom Radio Logo AM950 Food Freedom Radio

AM950 is a locally-owned radio station airing national progressive talkers Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann and daily local shows: The Morning Grind with Matt McNeil and the Daily Report with Ian Levitt. Food Freedom Radio airs live on Saturdays from 8a to 9a or can be heard anytime on your phone or computer by going to AM950Radio.com.

captured-by-brooke-logo Captured by Brooke

Brooke Reynolds, the founder of Captured by Brooke Photography, is a lover of photography, of colors and textures, interesting people & places and the beauty of nature and wildlife. She is an observant wanderer, keeping her eyes open to the captivating subjects and moments unfolding around us, capturing it with her lens. She is an avid world traveler, visiting over 30 countries in the past 6 years, striving to bring the wonder and essence of a place and culture home with her to share the experience with others.

Brooke is also a passionate animal lover and vegan, who focuses her travels around seeing animals in their natural habitat where they belong and now only photographs animals in the wild or rescue sanctuaries. She hopes somehow, someway, to show her love of animals through her photography and inspire the love of all animals to everyone who sees her photographs. She donates a percentage of profits to deserving animal organizations around the world. Brooke also enjoys photographing a limited amount of artistic weddings and portraits sessions every year. You can find her photos on her website.

green-jeans-media-logo Green Jeans Media

Green Jeans Media produces fun, informative and unique video, animation and motion graphics for non-profit organizations and small businesses. We are bicycle-based and socially conscious and want to help you get the sounds and images out there that communicate the message of the great work you do.

Mercy for Animals logo Mercy for Animals

Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals, and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.

radio-k-logo Radio K

Radio K is the award-winning student-run radio station of the University of Minnesota, playing an eclectic variety of independent music both old and new. Radio K educates students, breaks ground in musical programming, and provides cutting-edge cultural coverage through our specialty shows and Culture Queue.

VegGuide Logo VegGuide.org

VegGuide.org is a world wide guide to veg-friendly restaurants and shopping. VegGuide is entirely community-maintained. Anyone can sign up for an account and add a new entry, upload pictures, or write a review. VegGuide is also entirely ad-free. VegGuide.Org is a project of Compassionate Action for Animals in partnership with Compassion Over Killing,Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals, The Humane League, and Vegan Outreach


Eastside Food Co-op Eastside Food Co-op

Eastside Food Co-op is a community owned grocery store situated in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. We are a great place to shop for fresh, local and organic groceries and we are passionately committed to our community and the environment. The food and products that we offer reflect a solid commitment to a fair and just agricultural system, emphasizing sustainability and valuing the links between all aspects of food production: farm workers, farmers, the land, animals and consumers. This approach stresses the environmental and physical health of humans, animals and our shared planet. Eastside Food Co-op is a great example of people power in action and like our customers Eastside Food Co-op votes for the kind of world we want to live in by supporting the things we believe in.

Evolve Systems Evolve Systems

Evolve Systems is a 10 year old company that builds websites using a cruelty-free method with only 100% naturally grown humans and only the finest vegan software tools. Our company's technology vision is lead by Donald Raleigh, a flexetarian for over 5 years.

Evolve Systems exists to change the future of technology through internet application development, integrated customer solutions and payment systems. We strive to create long-lasting relationships with our clients, focusing on their needs with passion, quality and respect. Our services and products are state-of-the-art, assuring the success of your business.

You can find us at www.evolve-systems.com. (No animals were harmed while typing this marketing piece)

HSUS Logo The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest and most effective animal protection organization. We help animals by advocating for better laws to protect animals; conducting campaigns to reform industries; providing animal rescue and emergency response; investigating cases of animal cruelty; and caring for animals through our sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics.

Move2Veg logo Move2Veg

Move2Veg provides nutrition counseling with a focus on plant-based eating and can help you to get started or fine tune your eating habits to optimize nutritional health!

Interested in eating more purposefully but not sure how to start?

Want to be the healthiest vegan you can be?

Whether you are taking the first step, or updating your long-term commitment to plant-based eating, it helps to have support and guidance. That's what Move2Veg is all about, helping you meet your goals! At Move2Veg, we can answer questions, assess nutrition, fine-tune your meal plan, focus on your health concerns, shop together, or whatever best meets your needs. Appointment content is flexible depending on your priorities.

Tofurky logo Tofurky

At Turtle Island Foods, our Tofurky® and tempeh products are created to promote the health and vitality of both the people and the ecosystems of our "island" home. For almost 30 years we have worked to create delicious, nutritious, convenient and affordable vegetarian food that make a difference in people's lives and have a minimal impact on our environment.

We are located in Hood River, Oregon, one hour east of Portland. We make our vegetarian products in small batches using only the finest organic and natural ingredients. No preservatives, MSG or other artificial ingredients are added to our products. All of our products are kosher, vegan, and made with organic soybeans and/or organic tofu. We are a family owned and operated company.

Upton's Naturals Upton's Naturals

Upton's Naturals Seitan is not only delicious and completely unique but it is also a healthy and cruelty-free alternative to meat that is 100% vegan. Our special method yields flavor and texture that is unsurpassed, and one look at our ingredients list proves our dedication to simplicity. Upton's Naturals is a vegan-owned company dedicated to providing alternatives to meat that anyone will enjoy. Our seitan and prepared foods can be found at stores nationwide. Visit us at www.uptonsnaturals.com or at our new factory in Chicago!

Vegan Outreach Vegan Outreach

Vegan Outreach is a nonprofit organization working to expose and end cruelty to animals through the widespread distribution of our illustrated booklets: Why Vegan?, Even If You Like Meat, and Compassionate Choices, along with our follow-up Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating. As a member of Vegan Outreach, anyone, anywhere, in any situation can be the best possible spokesperson for the animals.

Individual Sponsors

  • Gayle Bonneville
  • Florence Brammer
  • Caryn Brooks
  • Kevin Chavis
  • Michael Chutich
  • Ram Gada
  • Barbara Huning
  • Jill Jepson
  • Ochen Kaylan
  • Timothy Knox
  • Michael Maddox
  • Phil Martens
  • Unny Nambudiripad
  • Heidi Paquette-Falk
  • Dave Rolsky
  • Suzanne Sorensen
  • Jacqui Tehranchi
  • Patrick Tullo
  • Richard & Colleen Wicklund
  • Michael Willemsen

Raffle Donors

  • BenBella Books
  • Cheapo
  • Common Good Books
  • Da Capo Books
  • Ecopolitan
  • Fran Costigan
  • Veg News
  • Vegan Cuts
  • Vegan Outreach
  • Vo's Vietnamese
  • Whole Foods

Twin Cities Veg Fest A Big Success

We held our second Twin Cities Veg Fest last Saturday, and it was a huge success! 2,000 people came to sample tasty food, listen to music, and hear from engaging speakers

Thanks to everybody who came to the second Twin Cities Veg Fest!

Please check out the video about the event created by our generous sponsor, Green Jeans Media.

We've posted some of the photos, too!

Did you come to the festival and want to tell us what you think? Please fill out our survey. Please do not fill out the survey if you already filled out a paper one. And if you want to volunteer, please be sure to include your email address so we can contact you!

Thank you to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, bands, and volunteers who all made this possible!

Come to Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013

Delicious food, great speakers, and fantastic music! What more could you want?

Twin Cities Veg Fest is for anyone and everyone – from omnivores to vegetarians and vegans! If you've ever thought about becoming vegetarian or are interested in reducing animal suffering, you'll love Twin Cities Veg Fest. Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Location: Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 300 Washington Ave Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Cost: Free!

Learn where your food comes from, how to be a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and why being compassionate benefits everyone. Plus you'll enjoy tons of free vegan food samples and delicious vegan cuisine. We also have a great lineup of speakers, and this year we've added a concert! Everyone who came to our 2012 festival had a great time, and this year will be even better.

If you're already vegetarian or vegan, please invite your non-veg friends and family. This is a fun, friendly event where they can learn about the animal-friendly community in the Twin Cities. Join our event on Facebook so they see that you're going, and please invite them yourself. For your music-loving friends, we also have a Facebook event for the concert.

Volunteer at the Twin Cities Veg Fest

Can you help make the Twin Cities Veg Fest a success? We need help at the festival and before and after as well. Thanks!

Compassionate Action for Animals is hosting the second annual Twin Cities Veg Fest on October 26, 2013. We need your help to make it a success. It will be a lot of fun, you'll get to meet other volunteers, and you'll be an integral part of this huge festival!

Here are the available positions:

  • U-Haul Loading (the evening before the festival)
  • Set-up
  • Speaker Monitor
  • Maintenance
  • CAA Table
  • Veg Fest Table
  • Paid Per View Table
  • Food Giveaway Table
  • Greeters
  • Floater
  • Tech Support
  • Concert Helpers
  • Kids Area Helpers
  • Clean-up
  • Evening Transport

See more details at the Twin Cities Veg Fest website, and let us know what you're interested in helping with by emailing volunteer@tcvegfest.com. Feel free to volunteer all day, if you're available. We'll provide fellowship and an amazing, fun-filled veggie experience! Hope to see you there!

Register for Their Lives, Our Voices

Their Lives, Our Voices gathers activists from around the country for an inclusive, high-quality, hands-on conference focused on empowering advocates in their efforts to help farmed animals.

Please register today! This event is accessible to all animal advocates, showcasing diverse topics and perspectives within our movement. Networking and attendee participation are vital to TLOV's success, so please come and help make our fourth TLOV conference an exceptional event.

This year's TLOV will be a one day event on Sunday, October 27 from 9:45am to 5:20pm in the Science Teaching & Student Services Building on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis Campus.

The event features Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals as our keynote speaker. We have a great set of speakers lined up for the rest of the day too. They will provide a full day of presentations and workshops that will help you become a better advocate for animals.

Registration is $20, with a $10 registration level available for students and low income individuals. You can register online right now. All paid attendees will receive a vegan lunch as part of their registration fee.

Of course, you'll also want to come a day before to visit the Twin Cities Veg Fest on Saturday, October 26.

TLOV is hosted by Compassionate Action for Animals.

Help poster and distribute flyers for the Twin Cities Veg Fest

Want an easy way to help animals, while sharing good food and reaching new audiences? Help us distribute posters and flyers to get the word out about the second ever Twin Cities Veg Fest!

The October 26 Twin Cities Veg Fest is rapidly approaching, and we need your help to distribute posters and flyers around the community and at the University of Minnesota campus. We are postering/flyering during the following dates and times:

We especially could use your help for the off-campus postering sessions on October 9 and 13!

For the off-campus dates we will meet at the CAA Community Office, and for the on-campus dates we will meet in the central area on the 2nd floor of the U of M's Coffman Memorial Union.

We'll be serving food at each of these events, so RSVP to raven@exploreveg.org so we know how much to provide! We will distribute posters/flyers on each date for about 3 hours, then reconvene to eat.

If you can't attend any of these sessions but want to put up posters on your own schedule, email info@exploreveg.org and we'll make arrangements to get you some posters!

Who is the Twin Cities Veg Fest For?

Twin Cities Veg Fest in action

After last year's festival we got a lot of positive feedback. We were told that we should "have one ever year". Ok, done. One person said that it was "very informative and educational". Great, that's our goal!

But of course, the love wasn't universal. For example, one person wanted "speakers geared towards more experienced vegans/vegetarians". But here's what we wish someone had told us: "I'm already vegan and I came to this event but I didn't learn anything new."

If you're vegan, that's great! Thank you for making compassionate choices. You've already done a great deal to help reduce the number of animals suffering needlessly in factory farms. But when we consider who the festival is for, we have to ask ourselves how we can reduce that suffering even more.

So who is the Twin Cities Veg Fest for? It's for people who are still eating animal products, of course. If we want to make a further change beyond our own diet, we need to reach out to people who are in the best position to help animals, the people still eating them. The goal of the Twin Cities Veg Fest is to showcase the thriving, warm, fun community of people who care about animals in the region. We also want to provide powerful information on the realities of factory farming and how each individual can help animals simply by moving towards a vegan diet. That is the thinking that drives every decision we make about the festival. We want to make this an event for everyone, but especially for people who aren't yet vegan.

If you're reading this, it's likely that you already know a lot of the information we'll present at the festival. The speakers' presentations may seem too basic, the products we present may not be new to you. But for people who are new to these issues, these presentations and products could be just the thing that convinces them to make a change in their lives.

While many vegetarians and vegans heard about the festival from us last year, many of the people who still eat animals heard about this event from a vegetarian or vegan friend. It's people just like you who made the festival a success last year. If you can come to the event this year with three of your non-veg friends, think of the impact that could have!

While the festival is targeted at the veg-curious, we also have an event for those who are already convinced. This year we're bringing back our Their Lives, Our Voices animal advocacy conference. This conference will take place on Sunday, October 27, the day after the festival. The conference will feature two tracks of great speakers including nationally recognized leaders in the animal advocacy movement, including Nathan Runkle from Mercy for Animals and Nick Cooney from Farm Sanctuary. We also have a great lineup of locals including speakers from Compassionate Action for Animals, Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, and experienced organizers from the Sierra Club. If you want to take the next step to help animals, this conference will empower you with the skills and motivation you need to take your advocacy to the next level. Registration is just $20, so please buy your ticket today.

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Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

UMN Student Group Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

18th Annual Vegan Virtual ThanksLiving

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Vegan Recipe Club via Zoom

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Vegan Recipe Swap!