When it comes to vegan activism in New York City, it seems that Mercy For Animals (http://www.mercyforanimals.org) is everywhere on the march. I've run into a constant stream of Mercy For Animals (MFA) activists at a variety of vegetarian dinners, fundraisers, and activism events. They have been uniformly so kind, sweet, and passionately concerned with animal welfare and animal rights.
One of the first I met was Matt Rice, who presently serves as MFA's national Director of Investigations -- working closely with undercover investigators to obtain video footage and other evidence of animal abuse at factory farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses. Another was Robyn Lazara, a super-activist who -- as a volunteer -- has given immense support not only to MFA but also a variety of animal activist organizations. (But don't count on Matt or Robyn to tell you this stuff -- they didn't tell me -- they are too modest!)
I also met Eddie Garza who heads up the New York MFA office. What an eloquent and sincere man, and a heroic activist. Recently I asked Eddie about speaklng to our group -- to give an introduction to what Mercy For Animals does.
This dinner is not a fundraising event, but rather a get-to-know-you dinner where we will learn about the heroic work of the Mercy For Animals organization. We want our members to get acquainted with the brilliant work of this successful national group. And next month, our Vegetarian & Vegan Meetup is scheduling a meetup event where our members will have the opportunity to engage in vegan leafleting as part of a joint activism event with MFA!
But first, more about MFA (I am taking this directly from their website):
Mercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.
MFA believes non-human animals are irreplaceable individuals with morally significant interests and hence rights. This includes the right to live free from unnecessary suffering and exploitation.
MFA is dedicated to establishing and defending the rights of all animals. Over 99% of cruelty to animals in the United States occurs at the hands of the meat, dairy, and egg industries - which confine, mutilate, and slaughter over 9 billion animals each year. As such, MFA primarily focuses on farmed animal advocacy and promoting cruelty-free food choices.
MFA works to be a voice for animals through proactive consumer education and advertising campaigns, research and undercover investigations, rescues, working with news media, and grassroots activism.
And more about our speaker, Eddie Garza:
http://photos4.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/8/a/b/8/highres_116195512.jpegEddie Garza serves as a Senior Campaign Coordinator with Mercy For Animals, organizing events throughout New York and the Northeast, and overseeing and planning national outreach campaigns and communications.
Eddie is guided by the peaceful teachings of Jivamukti Yoga, finding inspiration in its motto, "May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all."
It was a trip to Europe in 2003 that opened Eddie's eyes to the ethically and ecologically irresponsible manner in which animals are raised and killed during food production in the Western world. His passion for protecting farmed animals from needless cruelty soon prompted Eddie to adopt a vegan diet, and quickly propelled him into grassroots activism.
About the restaurant:
We'll be having dinner in the beautiful upstairs dining room of Zen Palate on 18th Street. When this "vegetarian temple" opened in 2010 to rave reviews, our group had a huge dinner there, setting an attendance record for our group.
(Wheel of Dharma, Zen Palate's most popular dish, made with tempura-battered shitake mushrooms, mashed sweet potato and snow peas.)
Zen Palate continues in the temple culinary tradition of developing divine and appetizing vegetarian foods, using the freshest and highest quality vegetarian ingredients (which covers more than 60 different plants and flowers from various culinary cultures), while also incorporating other diverse styles from around the world such as Indian, Malaysian, Mexican and Italian, coupled with rejuvenating beverages and sumptuous desserts.
Zen Palate restaurants have won numerous Awards of Distinction by Zagat Survey over the past 15 years. In addition to being voted by AOL CityGuide as both the #1 Best Vegetarian Restaurant and #1 Best Healthy Dining Restaurant in New York and Long Island, Zen Palate is listed in the Top 5 of the Food Network's Best of Far East Favorites in North America.
**Unlike many of our other meetup events that have flexible arrival times, this dinner starts promptly at 7:00pm. Please arrive between 7:00pm and 7:15pm.**
Zen Palate - restaurant web site: www.zenpalate.com (http://www.zenpalate.com/)
I am personally extremely excited about this event. We are primarily a social group and not an activist group. But this event, and our upcoming activism event that we are jointly planning with Mercy For Animals, heralds our introduction, as a group, to direct vegetarian and vegan activism. Many of our individual members have engaged in direct vegan activism in their lives. But these two events mark our first steps as a group in this direction.
Join us for a delectable vegetarian meal at the renowned Zen Palate. At dinner, listen to an eloquent introduction to the heroic work of Mercy For Animals. If you like, sign up for their mailing list to be informed about their brilliant work and opportunities for activism. And if you choose, sign up for our meetup event next month when we go leafleting with Mercy For Animals.