Nathan Runkle on Showing Mercy to the Animals in Our Care: PYP 235

Nathan Runkle is the founder of Mercy For Animals, an organization that focuses on the prevention of cruelty to the billions of farm animals raised for food in the United States.

Nathan's just written an amazing memoir, titled Mercy For Animals, with friend-of-the-podcast Gene Stone. The book is part coming of age story, part exposé of the animal agriculture industry, and part gripping tale of adventure and risk and strategy as a few passionate, committed young people go undercover to expose the abuses that are a regular and normal and accepted part of our meat-based food chain.

Nathan's a fascinating guy. Born into a farming community where raising and eating animals was simply a way of life, he began his career as an animal rights activist at age 11. Soon after he became a vegetarian, reasoning that if he wasn't going to enslave, torture, and consume animals himself, he refused to pay others to do it for him.

By 13, he was attending national conferences. And at 15, he founded Mercy For Animals, now an international investigative, legal, and educational powerhouse for change. Now, in his 30s, Nathan is a beacon of clarity and common sense, and an indefatigable spokesperson for the most vulnerable among us: the domesticated livestock who live and die according to our whims.

I can't describe what an honor it was to get this man on the phone for an hour!

In our conversation, we covered:

  • the four pillars of Mercy For Animals (undercover investigation, corporate outreach, legal advocacy, and education)
  • Nathan's goal in writing the book
  • animal rights work – seeing the darkest and brightest sides of humanity
  • the piglet that catalyzed Nathan's life and mission
  • “if someone did to a cat or dog what we do to farm animals, they would be referred for psychiatric evaluation”
  • how to deal with our own anger as activists and channel it in productive ways (“animals need us to be effective”)
  • “we don't get shamed, guilted, or yelled at into advocacy”
  • when you see a non-vegan, think “pre-vegan” – and remember that you were once pre-vegan
  • escaping the triangle of victimization
  • why “mercy” is the right word
  • the hidden heroes of the animal protection movement
  • the realities and costs of PITS (perpetrator induced traumatic stress)
  • the dance of opposition and collaboration with Nestlé
  • the future of cruelty-free meats: Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats
  • “we will see the end of factory farming in our lifetimes” – simply because it's economically inefficient
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Talk Back


Mercy For Animals: One Man's Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals

Nathan on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

The Missing Chins Run Club on Good Morning America: Thursday, October 26, 2017

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