Star-Studded Anniversary Gala to Celebrate Food, Innovators
Farm Sanctuary celebrating 25 years of progress for farm animals

New York City, April 29, 2011 – Celebrities will mingle, legends will be honored, guests will be wowed, and all will be well fed at Farm Sanctuary’s 25th Anniversary Gala event on May 14 at New York City’s renowned Cipriani on Wall Street.  For more information on the event and how to register, please click here

As the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, Farm Sanctuary ( has worked for 25 years to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.  The star-studded Gala already includes the likes of actor Chevy Chase, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, Skinny Bitch author Rory Freedman, comedienne and writer Carol Leifer, “Hot in Cleveland” actress Wendie Malick, television and film actress Kathy Najimy, film actor Eric Roberts, “M*A*S*H” star Loretta Swit, actor Fred Willard, and music by singer-songwriter Nellie McKay. 

The Gala is a celebration of vegan food, compassion for farm animals, and the tireless efforts of several champions in the movement.  David Lee, chef and president of the innovative food company The Field Roast Grain Meat Company, will be working closely with the chefs at Cipriani to create an inspired, delicious vegan menu.  Farm Sanctuary will share these sumptuous recipes with the public after the event to further demonstrate how vegan food can be elevated to new culinary heights in the hands of chefs like Lee – and how to replicate it on your dinner table.

“This is as much a celebration as a recognition that we are in the midst of a major awakening about the food we put in our bodies and what it means for the world around us,” said Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “Twenty-five years ago I couldn’t have predicted the profound effect Farm Sanctuary would have on how our society views and treats farm animals. We still have a long way to go and events like this are important milestones on the road to renewing our empathy and compassion.”

During the program, Farm Sanctuary will recognize the efforts of influential  advocates, including

  • Kathy Freston Kathy Freston is a renowned health and wellness expert and a New York Times best-selling author of The Veganist and The Quantum Wellness Cleanse.  Freston has beenfeatured on Oprah, Ellen and Good Morning America among other shows. 
  • David Wolfson – America’s foremost animal law expert, Wolfson teaches animal law as a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School and has previously taught animal law at Cardozo Law School, Harvard Law School and Yale Law School. He is the author of a number of articles on animal protection law, with a focus on farm animal law, and represents a number of animal protection groups.
  • John Robbins – Author of Food Revolution and Diet for a New America, Robbins is a social activist, humanitarian, and recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, and Peace Abbey’s Courage of Conscience Award.
  • David Lee – Lee is president and co-founder of The Field Roast Grain Meat Company. A chef by trade, Lee’s goal is to establish a new paradigm for meat by providing people with quality vegetarian grain meats made with the simple tenets of good cooking and traditional food making practices. Lee is a long-time supporter of animal protection causes and his company supports organizations working to end farm animal suffering.
  • Susie Coston – Coston is Farm Sanctuary’s national shelter director.  She has been a committed farm animal caregiver for more than a decade and is a mentor for many of her peers (who have started their own sanctuaries). Coston is well-known for bringing the animals’ stories of love, loss and life to the public. Currently, she oversees a full department of caregivers, feeders, cleaners, and project workers at the organization’s New York Shelter.  

Animal Planet will also be there filming as part of a reality show series featuring activist and vegan baker Danielle Konya, of Vegan Treats bakery in Pennsylvania – who will be indulging guests with her signature treats. Vegan Treats is the exclusive sponsor of a desert reception and will – appropriately – be preparing an array of farm-animal themed desserts. 

The program will feature an entertaining live auction, and a silent auction will feature unique farm animal-inspired items, including original paintings, photography, jewelry, and much more.  Iconic American artist Peter Max has created original art in honor of Farm Sanctuary’s 25th anniversary, beautiful paintings of “Maxine” the cow who is named in Mary and Peter Max’s honor and resides at Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen shelter. 

There will also be a red carpet welcome, a VIP reception with media in attendance, inspiring short videos, words from our award winners, and delicious food throughout.

As an added treat, Farm Sanctuary’s Just Eats Tour will be launching immediately from the dinner.  The organization’s iconic founder, Gene Baur, will leave the event in the same VW van he used to found Farm Sanctuary 25 years ago for a three-week, cross-country adventure documenting the food, people and places that helped spark a national movement toward compassionate living and eating.  Stay tuned for more details and how you can get involved. 

The committee chair for the gala is philanthropist and filmmaker James Costa.

Evening Program

VIP reception
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Cocktail reception and silent auction
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Gourmet, three-course vegan dinner
Honoring leaders in compassion
Inspiring and entertaining performances
7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Twilight reception
10:00 – 11:30 p.m.

About Farm Sanctuary
Co-founded in 1986 by beloved animal protection icon Gene Baur, and funded initially by sales of veggie hot dogs from a VW van at Grateful Dead concerts, the once fledgling, all volunteer organization has grown to become the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, with more than 230,000 members and supporters. A few of Farm Sanctuary’s achievements include:

  • Being the organization responsible for bringing farm animal issues into the mainstream consciousness
  • Urging passage of the first U.S. laws to protect animals on farms
  • Initiating the first cruelty convictions at stockyards and slaughterhouses
  • Establishing the largest rescue and refuge network for farm animals in North America

Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at or by calling 607-583-2225.
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