I am proud to share Q2 2017 highlights for the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund, which I established in April 2016 to continue supporting the causes I once shared with Greg.
- On June 22 in Norfolk, VA, I had the honor of co-presenting, with Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s second annual Gregory J. Reiter Award to the Virginia Beach SPCA. This award is given annually to an individual or group for inspiring compassion and dedication to animals. The VB SPCA offers shelter and care to almost 4,000 companion animals each year – including, last year, over 250 dogs and cats from PETA’s cruelty and neglect cases.
- On June 2, PETA’s legal team became the first from an animal advocacy organization to earn Corporate Counsel magazine’s prestigious nationwide Best Legal Department of 2017 honor. While Greg was alive, we began designating a portion of our PETA donations specifically for their legal initiatives – and I have continued this practice through the Greg Fund.
- PETA’s Augustus Club 2017 newsletter issue 74 featured my story about the importance of including companion animals in our estate planning.
In May and June, 2017, Food for Thought awarded the first four grants in partnership with the Greg Fund, to these North American wildlife organizations that newly adopted vegan or vegetarian menu policies as one way to save wildlife and habitat:
- Animal Help Now (Boulder, CO)
- Colorado Native Bird Care and Conservation (Lyons, CO)
- Fauna Foundation (Carignan, Québec)
- Wildcare (San Rafael, CA)
Animal Place, a California farm animal sanctuary, inspired Greg and me to become vegetarian and ultimately vegan after a visit in the year 2000. Through the Greg Fund, I am partnering with their Food for Thought program to expand from an initial focus on companion animal shelters, to also promote vegan menu policies at environmental and wildlife organizations. More in this blog post.
I began supporting this group through the Greg Fund in the first quarter of 2017 – and their bipartisan approach to working with the U.S. Congress has already produced some impressive successes:
- On June 9 the West L.A. Veterans Affairs Medical Center cancelled plans to drug and kill dogs in narcolepsy tests, after information revealed through a WCW Freedom of Information Act request prompted nine U.S. House members to demand accountability.
- U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have joined other Congress members calling for reforms at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, VA after learning of dog abuses first exposed by WCW.
- WCW is working with a growing bipartisan Congressional coalition – 62 co-sponsors to date – on the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act (HR 816) to require that federal agencies report basic information about animals used for toxicity testing.
In April, through the Greg Fund, I increased support for PCRM – which emphasizes plant-based nutrition for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses; and promotes alternatives to the use of animals in medical education and research.
One highlight of PCRM’s work during the first half of 2017 is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the USDA, as a co-plaintiff with PETA and other organizations, calling for restoration of a public database on the use of animals in thousands of research laboratories and other facilities.
PCRM’s recent work also includes publication of Dr. Neal Barnard’s latest book The Cheese Trap, a “tour though all the things you never knew about America’s favorite addiction – and how to break free.”
Also in April, the Greg Fund made its first grant to Beagle Freedom Project, which saves beagles and other animals from laboratories and places them into permanent adoptive homes.
Beagle Freedom Project is also a plaintiff, along with PETA, PCRM and others, in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit calling for restoration of the USDA public database on use of animals in labs.
In May, the Greg Fund made its latest of many contributions toward the care of over 200 rescued farm animals at Poolesville, MD Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary – a favorite place of Greg’s and mine, where I now volunteer weekly.
If you are in the greater Washington DC area, and especially if you have kids, do consider visiting Poplar Spring as part of the Montgomery County (MD) Farm Tour Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. More info about this and other Poplar Spring annual events on their website and Facebook page.
Also in May, through the Greg Fund, I increased support for Compassion Over Killing – which combats cruelty to animals in agriculture through investigations, lawsuits, and other actions; and promotes vegan eating through numerous events and campaigns.
The annual DC VegFest on October 3, 2015 was the last event Greg and I attended together.
The 2017 DC VegFest is scheduled for September 2 at Yards Park (Intersection of N St. SE and First St SE). If you’re in the area, do stop by for some great food and entertainment!
I am deeply grateful for anything and everything you do to help animals – and especially for your contributions to this Fund in Greg’s memory.
~ Alysoun Mahoney