Lady Freethinker (LFT) celebrated 10 years of making change for animals at our “Hope for Animals” event — a joyous chance for us to make memories with some of our stalwart supporters, share our recent victories, and look forward to how much work still needs to be done.

More than 100 people registered for the inaugural event and enjoyed delicious vegan food, sunset and starlit views from the rooftop of Hotel Erwin in Venice, a silent auction featuring cruelty-free gifts and entertainment, an award ceremony for other activists working toward a more compassionate world, and a recap of some of LFT’s proudest moments.

Major accomplishments in LFT’s first 10 years included undercover footage that helped obtain the strongest animal cruelty sentence for an animal abuser in Chile, helping shut down the largest dog meat auction in South Korea, tracking and exposing animal cruelty on social media, and granting thousands of dollars to on-the-ground rescues and nonprofits working for animals, including to help with the devastation from the war on Ukraine and the earthquakes in Turkey, said Nina Jackel, LFT’s founder and president.

“In the past decade, we have worked nonstop for animals,” Nina said. “We are showing people that animals are thinking and feeling individuals who deserve our respect and compassion.

“Together, we have accomplished a lot. But we still have so much work to do,” she added. “Harming and exploiting animals is not normal, and it is not right, and that’s why the team at Lady Freethinker will continue to work to end cruelty and offer solutions.”

Nina thanked everyone who has supported LFT — to loud applause and echoed shouts of “Thank YOU!” — and also recognized three other individuals and organizations working tirelessly to improve the world for animals.

Ethan and Tracy Brown

Ethan and Tracy Brown with LFT Founder Nina Jackel (Photo Credit: Natalie Ford)

Nina recounted how when she first visited the home of Ethan Brown, founder of Beyond Meat, and Tracy Brown, an animal advocate, she was greeted by a pack of rescued dogs and a rescued pig. 

The couple received LFT’s Compassionate Couple of the Year Award.

Nina applauded the Browns for getting healthy, affordable, and delicious vegan foods into some of the biggest fast-food chains in the world and “proving you can use plants to create a delicious burger.”

Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist and host of popular television show My Cat From Hell, received LFT’s Compassionate Advocate of the Year Award.

“You are helping people to not give up on their felines and to instead practice patience and compassion,” Nina said.

Jackson Galaxy

Jackson Galaxy (Photo Credit: Natalie Ford)

Jane Velez-Mitchell — a journalist focused on vegan lifestyles, animal rights, and social justice issues, and the founder of the recently-launched vegan news hub UnchainedTV — took home LFT’s Compassionate Voice of the Year Award.

“You are truly a hero to me, and we are so proud to give you this award,” Nina said.

Lady Freethinker also thanked the Burning Torch, the event’s platinum sponsor.

Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jane Velez-Mitchell (Photo Credit: Natalie Ford)

LFT supporters who attended the event said they were grateful for the work LFT is doing and that they appreciated the chance to meet the team and get together with other animal advocates. 

Nina said that she was “beyond thrilled” with how the event turned out.

“I’m so proud, and I am so optimistic for the future,” she said. “I know change is possible, and I’m seeing it.”

Thank you to everyone who continues to support our work and our mission. We could not do this difficult but important work without you! 

We look forward to continuing to work toward a more compassionate world for animals — one which recognizes that every being has value and the right to exist free from pain, fear, suffering, exploitation, and distress.