The Art of Compassion Award

Mary and Peter Max

Peter Max is one of the most successful artists in America today. It was his psychedelic style that first launched his career as an art icon in the '60's and landed him on the cover of Life magazine.

Peter Max has enjoyed an exciting career, exhibiting in more than 50 museums worldwide and painting for U.S. presidents Carter, Ford, Bush, Reagan and Clinton, as well as being the Official Artist of the Grammys, the World Cup Soccer Tournament, five Super Bowls, the U.S. Tennis Open, and the NHL All-Star Game.

Max's patriotism inspired him to create an annual July 4th tradition of painting the Statue of Liberty, and he personally helped to actualize the statue's restoration. His global vision compelled him to lend his creativity to produce posters for many international events, including the Summit of the Americas, Gorbachev's State of the World Forum, and the United Nations Earth Summit, for which he designed a series of twelve stamps that became the best-selling stamps in U.N. history.

His love of the earth and its inhabitants shines through in his vibrant colors and themes that affirm life and love. Always an optimist, Max sees a bright new age for the new millennium, filled with enormous possibilities. He also sees a need for a greater responsibility to our planet, and he is ever ready to serve as the "Global Artist."

For more on Peter, please visit

As a full-time activist in New York City, Mary Max has enlightened many to the horrors of animal cruelty. In addition to maintaining a weekly e-mail alert service, Mary stays busy as the founder and director of Kind Green Planet, as well as lobbying city, state, and federal lawmakers regarding a variety of animal protection laws, and working to implement a New York State resolution that allows plant-based meals in all New York State schools.

She relishes her role as an active board member of The Humane Society of the U.S., Humane USA-PAC, The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, and The Community Fund for Manhattan, an initiative of the Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. She also enjoys serving on the advisory board for The New York League of Humane Voters and on the advisory council of Farm Sanctuary.

Mary is a devoted mom to seven rescued kitties and one rescued dog and is still the blushing bride of artist Peter Max.


The Compassion in Media Award

Tom Simon and Sarah Teale

Tom Simon and Sarah Teale are award-winning filmmakers who are behind two of the most compelling, and widely distributed documentaries on animal rights ever produced. In 2009 Tom and Sarah released Death on a Factory Farm as part of HBO's America Undercover series. The groundbreaking film followed "Pete," an undercover animal cruelty investigator, and gave viewers nationwide a harrowing look into animal abuse on an Ohio hog farm.

In 2007 the duo introduced the country to "Pete" for the first time with HBO's film Dealing Dogs. Following "Pete" on his first undercover assignment into a Class-B dog kennel – where stolen companion dogs were sold to research labs – Dealing Dogs exposed this cruel and hidden industry. The film was nominated for two Emmys including "Best Documentary."

Tom is the president of Working Dog Productions and has produced shows for The Discovery Channel, A&E, National Geographic, The Learning Channel, ITEL, Canal +, PBS, HBO, and NBC.

Tom has personally won seven national Emmy Awards and programs he executive-produced have received over 150 awards for excellence, including a DuPont-Columbia Journalism Award, Peabody Awards, over three dozen Emmys and numerous CableACE Awards.

Sarah Teale is a founding partner of Teale-Edwards Productions. She has produced films for HBO, AMC, A&E, PBS, Court TV, Channel 4 and the BBC.

Among other films, Sarah has produced a documentary on the playwright Sam Shepard, Sam Shepard: Stalking Himself, for BBC Bookmark and PBS Great Performances. This documentary won the Gold Plaque Award at the Intercom International Competition, the Gold Camera Award at the US International Film & Video Festival, and the Gold Telly Award. Sarah also produced Horst P. Horst: Sixty Years & Still in Vogue for the BBC and A&E.


The Compassionate Leadership Award

Linda Rosenthal

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal represents the 67th Assembly District. She was first elected to the Assembly in February 2006, and was re-elected in November 2008. In her time in office Assemblymember Rosenthal has established herself as a leading advocate on affordable housing, domestic violence, consumer protection and animal rights.

In the 2006 legislative session, four of Assemblymember Rosenthal's bills were signed into law. Her legislation that extends court orders of protection to companion animals, whose abuse often signals early warning signs for spousal and child abuse, is a landmark step in ending the cycle of violence prevalent in abusive households. This law is only the third of its kind in the nation, and in July 2006, a Queens judge issued the first order of protection for an animal. In recognition of her accomplishments, the New York League of Humane Voters named Assemblymember Rosenthal as their 2006 Legislator of the Year.

In May, 2009, Assemblymember Rosenthal introduced bill A08163, which would prohibit confining breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens in cages in New York State that prevent them from turning around or extending their limbs. Assemblymember Rosenthal has been an outspoken and tireless advocate on behalf of abused and neglected farmed animals for many years.

Assemblymember Rosenthal is also committed to furthering a progressive agenda in Albany, particularly in the areas of government transparency and accountability, campaign finance reform, education, energy, environmental conservation, and quality of life issues.


The Progressive Business Award

MooShoes – Erica and Sara Kubersky

MooShoes was the first all-vegan shoe and accessory retail store to open in the U.S. - opening their doors in NYC in 2001. MooShoes was started by sisters Erica and Sara Kubersky, both born and raised in Queens.

They were touched by the plight of farmed animals from a very young age. Erica turned vegetarian at age 8 after having her first encounter with a cow and Sara soon followed suit. Both went vegan a couple of years later

For as long as they can remember opening MooShoes was their dream. This dream was finally realized 8 years ago when they opened in a very small and modest location on 26th Street in Manhattan, in what was a defunct butcher shop. That was a great starting point, but due to demand they had to move to a bigger location in NYC's Lower East Side, and then finally to their current location on one of NYC's most historic streets, Orchard Street. When MooShoes first opened, there were about 20-30 styles to choose from, but now there are hundreds of products to choose from.

When they realized that there were still some things missing from the vegan shoe world, they started their own line of shoes, Novacas, which are ethically produced in Portugal.

MooShoes strives to convey an AR message with everything they do.

Their store and website are chock-full of literature and information. They try to collaborate and work with as many activist groups and vegan businesses as possible.They feel honored to have had the chance to work with various groups and individuals within the animal rights movement, like Compassion Over Killing, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctary, New York League of Humane Voters, Oasis Sanctuary, and most recently, the opportunity to celebrate the launch of Mercy For Animals’ New York branch. "Hosting benefits, adoption days or donating proceeds is the least we can do for groups that are doing so much for a cause we are so passionate about."

They share this award with their wonderful staff and their sassy shop cats.


The Hope Award

Tom Progar

Tom Progar has been a long-time supporter of Mercy For Animals. Originally from Michigan, Tom served as president of Students for Animal Rights at Eastern Michigan University and quickly expanded the organization to include more than one hundred members and to become one of the most active groups on campus.

Tom's outreach efforts have given him experience in leafleting, movie screenings, vegan food tastings and hosting well-known speakers, such as Gene Baur and Will Tuttle, in order to expose students to the cruelties animals endure. Students for Animal Rights also fought for more humane food choices on campus and helped persuade the University to open a vegan/vegetarian eatery in the student union.

Tom's energy and initiative eventually led him to bring local and national animal groups together to raise over $10,000 to have nine billboards – seven of them in partnership with MFA - installed on some of Michigan's busiest roads and highways. He has taught humane education programs for the Michigan Humane Society and managed an urban organic garden where he shared with young people the joys of growing and eating fresh vegetables.

Most recently, his dedication, energy and outreach ideas have been indispensable to MFA in New York, as Tom recently relocated here to support his partner's work as a humane educator. As always, Tom is a "doer," and from the moment MFA launched its New York Office, Tom was on hand to help in countless ways. From outreach efforts such as leafleting, tabling and actively promoting MFA events, to the hands-on unglamorous work of renovating our Manhattan Advocacy Center, he was a reliable presence.

His leafleting efforts are particularly noteworthy, as this type of outreach epitomizes the practical and effective advocacy that MFA encourages. Tom has devoted much time and thought to maximizing the effectiveness of this basic grassroots activity. What's more, his genuine kindness and sincerity are evident in every encounter he has with the public; Tom is an activist who reinforces the positive image of animal advocates and veganism. Thanks to Tom's optimism, hard work and continued evaluation of the best outreach strategies, all of us have great hope of a kinder future for all animals.