JULY 29, 2021
Stories of Courage, Compassion, and Strength at the Mercy For Animals Gala
International, non-profit animal protection organization, Mercy For Animals, celebrated its 22nd year of service and impact with its annual fundraising virtual gala, filled with inspiring stories, community spirit, and recognition of its Hope Awardees, including famed ethologist, conservationist, and activist, Dr. Jane Goodall.
Mercy For Animals Hope Gala: A Night of Hope and Celebration
VEERAH is grateful to have taken part in this year’s Mercy For Animals virtual Hope Gala as one of its sponsors and attendees last month. To say that the event was a success is an understatement. It raised over $1.2M in donations and over $28,000 in its digital auction - a truly remarkable feat. The night was filled with inspiring stories of bravery, advocacies, and testimonies on how impactful changes begin with the decision to start. Here are our takeaways on how powerful hope is in changing the narrative that can help protect the animals, and the world.
Animals deserve love, respect, and compassion.
Give voice to the voiceless, and fight for those who cannot.
Mercy For Animals’ mission is to construct a compassionate food system by reducing suffering and ending the exploitation of animals for food. It believes that together, we can achieve a world free of cruelty, one where we nurture our bodies, minds, and spirits with wholesome, healthy food that is kind to animals and sustainable for our planet. They risk their lives to lead and fight to protect farmed animals - from factory farms to corporate boardrooms, courts of justice to courts of public opinion. They committed to a courageous decision to shine light where it is the darkest for animals, and lend their voices to speak up against cruelty, and strive for a global food industry shift towards a more compassionate, and more sustainable path.
Hope is power. When there is hope, there is power.
When Mercy For Animals volunteers and animal rights groups face an overwhelming mission, they remind themselves of why they started: to preserve and protect animals and be given the right to live cruelty-free. Mercy For Animals believes that it takes one individual who dared hope for change to sail ships, shift paradigms, and unite a community ready to act for what they believe in. The organization encourages all of us to decide, take part in the fight, and most importantly - always hope, no matter how tough the circumstances may be.
Fear can be distinguished by hope.
In every undercover investigation the organization goes through, they are inevitably met with loneliness, pain, and fear. Some have even stated they eat fear for breakfast. They knew it was part of the role they signed up for. As Erik Hasting, Hope Gala Hidden Hero Awardee shared, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life, albeit the toughest. The outpouring of support from the other advocates expressing their encouragement gave him hope and strength during moments of anxiety and crippling fear. This drives him to advance the fight for animal protection one more day, and the next one, and the next one.
Love, respect, and compassion for animals are our salvation.
Miyoko Schinner, the owner of Miyoko’s Creamy, and Hope Gala Global Impact Awardee, is hopeful for a future where the majority of the population is pursuing a vegan lifestyle. She shared that she is not promoting vegan cheese, rather a vegan lifestyle. She has chosen food as a path to save animals, emphasizing that when we focus on the sanctity of the animals, we don’t see them as a commodity, but as living beings with whom we share this planet - deserving of compassion, respect, and love. She expressed that when we save the animals, we save the world, and inevitably - save each other. She encouraged everyone to go arm in arm, arm in paw, and arm in hoof to create a compassionate, beautiful world. For Miyoko, this is the true meaning of life.
Animals help us become more compassionate leaders.
Leaders become agents of change in their communities when they lead with respect and compassion for every living being. This is easily connected to putting the utmost importance on the ecosystem of food. Pinky Cole, the owner of Slutty Vegan and Hope Gala Community Changemaker Awardee said: it is not about the title, but about making a difference in the lives of people you interact with daily. She created Slutty Vegan in 2018 with the vision to help make people reimagine food. She vouched for the idea that we can eat nostalgic and good food without compromising animals’ lives. She strives to sustainably produce and influence people to make better, healthier, and more cruelty-free choices in food. She elaborated on the idea that growing something changes your heart compared to killing something.
Hope Gala Awardees (L-R): Erik Hasting, Miyoko Schinner, Pinky Cole, and Dr. Jane Goodall.
Event host, Tabitha Brown’s smile said it all: The Hope Gala raised over $1 million dollars in donations - what a fantastic turnout!
We can choose what kind of difference we make.
The gala concluded by recognizing its Hope Awardee, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE - Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, for a lifetime of promoting respect for the natural world, and all of its inhabitants. Her lifetime research on the lives of the chimpanzees has taught her similarities, and most importantly, differences that we share with the species. During her study, she saw that oftentimes there was a disconnect between the clever brain and the human heart when it comes to decisions and actions.
She leads a vegetarian life because a piece of meat symbolizes fear, pain, and death to her. She expressed that animals too, feel pain, despair, and fear. She then urged everyone to proactively aim for equality and emphasized that we can choose what kind of difference we make. According to her, the cumulative effects of small choices can start to change the world. With love, respect, and compassion for the animals, we can end their suffering. She passionately reminded everyone that it is important that more people move forward to veganism, a movement that is better for our health, for the animals, and the world.
It was truly a night filled with hope, courage, and compassion. Let us unite and fight for animal protection, so we may also be kinder and more compassionate to each other. To learn more about the event, click this link. More power and success to Mercy For Animals! Visit Mercy For Animals at https://mercyforanimals.org to learn more about the organization’s mission, and follow their Instagram for news, and updates. Donate to the cause through this link.