Sheltering Leadership

It sends a mixed signal to the public if you are helping cats and dogs while eating other animals. No one involved in animal rescue would deny cats or dogs have feelings and emotional lives of their own, so it’s a natural step to also believe farmed animals are sentient beings capable of feeling emotions as well.
— Grace Froelich, Founder, Animal Rescue Inc. New Freedom, Pennsylvania
We spend a great deal of energy saving cats and dogs and cultivating compassion toward all animals, and it seems extremely appropriate to have this policy in place, especially considering the horrors that animals endure in the factory farming system. By having a vegetarian policy, it educates the public and raises awareness of these issues in a positive way.
— Kristen Gerali, Founder and Director, ALIVE Rescue Chicago, Illinois
There seemed little sense in accepting donations from the public toward our cause of protecting animals only to then spend some of that money on unnecessarily supporting the very industries that were causing so much pain and suffering to animals. We are a humane organization; what is the point of protecting animals all day long, only to serve them up on a platter at that evening’s donor reception?
— Nicholas Gilman, Executive Director, Montreal SPCA Montreal, Quebec, Canada
If someone has concerns that there might be drawbacks to adopting a vegetarian friendly policy at their shelter, I would suggest they think long and hard about why they got into this business. We’re the ones on the frontlines rescuing animals in our communities, and it just doesn’t make sense to rescue a dog or a cat… and then turn around and serve meat at a community-based function. Why do we go out there and rescue these animals when we’re serving other ones for people to eat?
— Todd Stosuy, Officer, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Santa Cruz, California
While we do not want to dictate personal choices, as an organization choosing to spend our money in such a way makes sense. I do feel that such a policy reflects a ‘walking the talk’ attitude. This is not dissimilar from an expectation, although short of policy, of staff being responsible pet owners by having their dogs and cats spayed and neutered, and not breeding animals.
— Allison Lindquist, Executive Director, East Bay SPCA Oakland, California
We could not, in good faith, raise money for one animal species to the detriment of another – even more so for us than other animal rescues, as rabbits are an animal that are often eaten themselves. We feel good that no animals are being harmed due to our fundraising efforts to help rabbits, and we encourage other groups to do the same.
— Haviva Porter-Lush, Executive Director, Rabbit Rescue Inc. Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
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Wildlife & Environmental Leadership

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest supports the Food for Thought program because we recognize that our actions should reflect our values, and we value reducing the harm inflicted on all animals by humans. Serving only vegan food at our events also opens up our celebrations to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike - no one has to worry about what will appear on their plate.
— Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest Cle Elum, Washington
Animal agriculture comes at a dire cost to wildlife, causing habitat destruction and biodiversity loss. When industrially produced animals are on the menu at wildlife or environmental events, it perpetuates the very cycle of loss that these groups are trying to end. It’s also at odds with one of the guiding principles of compassionate conservation, namely, ‘First do no harm,’ which stresses the inherent value of individual animals.
— Marc Bekoff, Co-founder, Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; Professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder Boulder, Colorado
I won’t say it was easy. In China, there were concerns about protein intake, our team working long hours outside in the elements, and fearing they wouldn’t have proper nutrition. Concerns gradually alleviated with postings on noticeboards—especially featuring vegan Olympic athletes and Chinese vegan heroes. Today, as a vegan myself, I’m really proud of all in the team, especially our translators and management staff who arranged for the local vegetarian restaurant to come along and teach our canteen chefs to cook more recipes. It feels hugely satisfying to tell visitors that both canteens in China and Vietnam are vegan—and why.
— Jill Robinson, founder and CEO, Animals Asia San Franciso, California
All along we’ve been shocked at how many animal welfare organizations do events to help animals and serve animals for dinner. It just felt right to make this statement. If you love animals, you should love all animals. We are not preachy, and we feel that any baby step, even if it’s not eating meat one day a week, is a step in the right direction. People should think when they’re putting on an event—whether it’s to save parrots, or horses, or whatever—all animals matter. … We do a big annual onsite event in the fall, and we have a large vegetarian and vegan buffet. It’s funny how many people grumble about how there won’t be meat on the table, but when you see the spread—it’s incredible, and no one can possibly miss the meat.
— Karen Windsor, Executive Director, Foster Parrots Hope Valley, Rhode Island
You have to walk the walk in the environmental movement. Being an environmental organization means being vegan. I don’t believe in gray areas on this issue. The raising of meat for human consumption causes more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined. People are starting to understand that the best way to make changes for the environment is to change what’s on your plate.
— Louis Psihoyos, Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society Greenbrae, California

Community Members

It doesn’t make sense for animal advocacy groups to be so narrow in their scope that they advocate for some animals while promoting that others be eaten.
— Gina S., Wisconsin
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental destruction. I would urge environmental groups to live up to their missions and take animal products off their menus.
— Jay O., Califormia
“I have volunteered with rescues for 25 years, have a rescue myself, and am vegan. I will not go to an animal fundraiser that serves animals on a plate.
— Cynthia W., Tennessee
It doesn’t make any sense to promote the concept of caring for animals and the environment, but then serve animals. Align your actions with your ethics for a more powerful message.
— Michiko V., California
Because we only have one planet and we all have an obligation to protect it. It is a great hypocrisy for these environmental groups to claim in saving the environment, and then consume the single most environmentally costly product.
— Zining W., Ontario
Please align your menus with your mission. Rescuing animals and then eating animals at your functions doesn’t go together. Please serve vegan food instead.”
— Colleen C., Virgina
When an organization’s menus are aligned with
their mission, the mission has a greater impact.
— Miriam T., Florida

Public Figures

For those of us working in animal rescue, sheltering, and protection, it’s our responsibility to help when and where we can and that can extend to the food we serve at our events. An animal friendly menu policy is an extension of your mission – and even mine as a TV personality - to support animals in need and widen the public’s circle of compassion.
— Jackson Galaxy, TV host "My Cat from Hell"
Animal agriculture comes at a dire cost to wildlife, causing habitat destruction and biodiversity loss. When industrially produced animals are on the menu at wildlife or environmental events, it perpetuates the very cycle of loss that these groups are trying to end. It’s also at odds with one of the guiding principles of compassionate conservation, namely, “First do no harm,” which stresses the inherent value of individual animals. For these reasons, I gladly endorse the Food for Thought campaign. Any events for which I am the sole sponsor will serve vegan fare, and I will encourage groups with which I am affiliated to do the same.
— Marc Bekoff, former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Author
Animal advocacy should be about reducing suffering and protecting the most vulnerable individuals—regardless of their species. Although my advocacy efforts focus primarily on cats and kittens, I’ve also been vegan for 15 years, and I believe it’s the only lifestyle consistent with a mission to save animals. Veganism isn’t just the compassionate choice...it’s also delicious, healthy, and easier than ever before! I’m thrilled to see more animal organizations adopting a vegan policy thanks to the efforts of Food for Thought.
— Hannah Shaw, The Kitten Lady
I really don’t understand how organizations that set out to save the lives of animals are eating them at their fundraisers and events. I applaud the Food for Thought program for getting these organizations to serve only plant-based foods.
— David Carter, The 300 lb Vegan, NFL Defensive End