Ever have a job you didn’t enjoy? Sure, most of us have. Perhaps even to the point of active dislike. Then there are those who take on jobs with full knowledge they will face heavy workloads, often work with people who are difficult, and confront tasks that are so far beyond distasteful they are horrific. Even though they could certainly find something better, these people persevere. Willingly. Because the work matters.

The people I refer to are the undercover investigators who take on the task of bearing witness to, and collecting evidence of, the atrocities animals face to deliver meat and dairy products. In slaughterhouses and elsewhere, every moment on the job these individuals risk personal safety – and possibly sanity – on behalf of the animals subjected to a depressing existence and ultimately a painful, dignity-deprived death. They do it so the rest of the world can know where some people’s food really comes from. And for the most part they work without recognition.

But two weeks ago, the Mercy for Animals Hidden Heroes Gala celebrated these brave undercover investigators and their supporters. Held at the Vibiana in Los Angeles, the event honored the people who have brought the horrors these animals face out of the shadows and into public awareness.

Jill Milan traditionally supports the gala with items for the silent auction and we did so again this year, and had wonderful time at the black tie event. We had a chance to catch up with eco-lifestyle expert, journalist and television personality Ashlee Piper. Seated at our table was Rebecca Mink, founder of Mink Shoes, along with her husband Neville Spiteri.

The evening did not lack for the usual array of celebrities. Russell Simons and Kat Von D were among the presenters, and singer Moby announced he will be starting a vegan festival with Mercy for Animals and Tony Kanal, scheduled for October. All proceeds will go to the Mercy for Animals Foundation.

Of course the real stars of the evening were the investigators and those who make their work possible. We heard from Compassionate Courage Award recipients Kevin Lahey and “Sarah,” who spoke of their experiences as MFA undercover investigators. The Compassionate Leadership Award went to longtime MFA supporter Ari Nessel, whose Pollination Project gives away $1,000 each day to to social change agents who seek to spread compassion in their communities and in the world.

At the end of the formal program MFA President Nathan Runkle and MFA Director of Communications Ari Solomon led a donation appeal that tallied more than $1 million, funds that will help support the investigators in their vital work.

It was a great time with great people, in support of a great cause that Jill Milan is happy to support. If you would like to help Mercy for Animals with a donation of any size, please visit their website.

 

Jill Milan Founder Jill Fraser (right) At the Pre-Gala Reception

Pre gala reception

 

More from the Pre-Gala Reception

Pre gala reception

 

"Red" Carpet Arrivals

Pre-gala reception

 

Before Dinner

Before Dinner at MFA Hidden Heroes Gala

 

Kevin Lahey

Kevin Lahey

 

Tony Kanal (left) and Moby

Tony Kanals (left) and Moby

 

 MFA President Nathan Runkle

 MFA President Nathan Runkle

 

 

Patricia Mink of Mink Shoes with husband Neville Spiteri

 Patricia Mink of Mink Shoes with husband Neville Spiteri

 

 

Milan Lazich (rear left) and Jill Fraser of Jill Milan, with Ashlee Piper (front).

Milan Lazich Jill Fraser and Ashlee Piper