The only vegan member of Congress, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), was drifting calmly through Cipriani Wall Street on Saturday, May 17, wearing a patterned bow tie, a gold-embossed flag pin and a strangely youthful glow. “I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” said Mr. Kucinich, 61, who stopped eating meat decades ago to combat a severe case of Crohn’s disease. “I could probably beat most people half my age in a sprint. Not kidding.” Not laughing!
He was there for a fund-raising gala thrown by Farm Sanctuary, which rescues and protects farm animals. The party was emceed by television host Melissa Rivers, who told the Transom that a difficult pregnancy had ended her brief flirtation with vegetarianism. Still, “I’m not a huge meat eater,” she said, “and if I do, it’s an occasion, and then it sits in my stomach like a brick.”
Actress Ally Sheedy also professed discomfort digesting flesh. “Honestly, I feel like, why do we eat meat at all?” she said. “I do eat fish. I find that a little bit easier.”
Ms. Sheedy was talking with Michele Balan, a comedian in a serious mood. “We tend to blame everything on China and the third-world countries, but in this country it’s just as bad,” Ms. Balan said. “I was horrified at the Kentucky Derby when they shot that horse.”
“They didn’t shoot the horse!” Ms. Sheedy gasped. “They euthanized it.”
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons lurked behind a pillar with his gazelle-like girlfriend, actress Porscha Coleman. “Every so often I get a glimpse of obvious truth,” Mr. Simmons said softly, “and the obvious truth is the abuse of animals is a horrible thing.”
As the crowd was prodded downstairs for dinner, servers were circulating platters of mock-chicken nuggets. “Usually the waiters steal food,” one said. “Not tonight.”