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Vegan Food For Thought

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“Vegans eat what?” What don’t we eat, I ask? At Animal Place, we always look forward to our staff and volunteer potlucks so we can sample savory plant-based cuisine from all over the world.

Eating food that is hearty, healthy and delicious is important when working at a sanctuary/shelter, or raising funds on its behalf. At Animal Place, we know the tremendous satisfaction and diversity available from plant-based fare. So it’s hard for us to understand why many animal rescue organizations and sanctuaries don’t make the connection between the dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and other companions they care for and the animals on their plate.

A little piglet named “Zelda” was one of the first arrivals at Animal Place. Zelda was being temporarily housed at a shelter and the individuals working there did not want her to go any place where she would be viewed as “bacon.” Oddly enough, that same shelter served ham at a subsequent event to raise money for dog kennels.

It has been twenty-five years since Animal Place first hosted Zelda and many things have changed in that time. Animal Place has grown into a 60-acre Rescue Ranch in Vacaville, CA and a 600-acre sanctuary in Grass Valley, CA. Apart from providing a safe haven for rescued animals and placing thousands of them in forever homes, Animal Place works to educate the public about farmed animal issues and legislation. And the organization that first rescued Zelda? Happily, it now has a menu policy that is friendly to all animals!

Many leading organizations in the sheltering world have adopted animal-friendly menu policies: California State Humane Association, The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Legal Defense Fund, The Marin Humane Society, San Francisco SPCA, Sacramento SPCA, Ohlone Humane Society, RedRover, and others have all decided to take farm animals off the menu. However, many animal rescue organizations still have not taken this important step.

A noteworthy number of shelters accept and re-home chickens, turkeys and other farmed birds. Even more organizations also take in rabbits, goats, pigs, and/or other species of farmed animals. Do you think it makes sense to serve these animals as food at a fundraising event in order to raise funds to save more animals? We didn’t. That’s why we launched our Food for Thought campaign, which works to get farm animals off the menu at fundraising events for animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescue organizations.

Animal Place needs your help to show animal organizations across the country how simple it is to hold successful fundraisers serving animal-free food. To learn more about the Food for Thought Campaign and access tips and resources on working with local shelters, visit the Food For Thought website or email

Carolyn Mullin holds a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Management. In her spare time she enjoys going to museums and discovering new vegan restaurants in her backyard of Los Angeles. Below is one of Carolyn’s favorite recipes from the Food for Thought Campaign.

Lemon Garlic Quinoa with White Beans And Olives ( Recipe Courtesy of

6 cups vegetable broth

1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa

1 ½ cups thinly sliced Kale leaves, packed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 large Garlic cloves, pressed

2 cups cooked Navy beans

2 Roma tomatoes, diced (1 cup)

1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, sliced

2-3 tbsp fresh Lemon juice

Step 1 In a small stockpot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add quinoa and boil for 14 minutes, adding sliced kale during the last 5 minutes. Drain well in a fine mesh strainer and transfer to a large bowl.

Step 2 In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Pour this over the warm quinoa and mix well.

Step 3 Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

By Carolyn Mullin

Carolyn Mullin is Coordinator for Animal Place’s Food for Thought Campaign.  Animal Place was founded in 1989 and is one of the largest and oldest animal sanctuaries in the nation, operating a 600-acre sanctuary in Grass Valley, California, and a 60-acre Rescue Ranch in Vacaville, California. Animal Place extends compassion to all life with a special emphasis on farmed animals.




Author: Carolyn