Inspiring Compassion. Ending Cruelty
Mercy For Animals is dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.
Imagine a world free of cruelty. Where we nurture our bodies, minds and spirits with wholesome, healthy food that is kind to animals and sustainable for our planet. Mercy For Animals believes that world is possible, in fact inevitable, if we work together to elevate humanity to its fullest potential.
We are on the frontlines fighting to protect farmed animals. From factory farms to corporate boardrooms, courts of justice to courts of public opinion, Mercy For Animals is there to speak up against cruelty and for compassion.
Our programs are sparing millions of lives and reducing the suffering of animals around the globe.
animals spared annually from cruel cages, mutilation, or being slaughtered while conscious
impacted by MFA's corporate policy victories
animals freed from cruel cages annually thanks to new laws promoted by MFA and partner organizations*
animals spared from misery annually thanks to MFA inspiring people to reduce or eliminate meat, egg and dairy consumption
Your Money at Work
Nearly 78 cents of every dollar spent by Mercy For Animals goes directly to programs that save animals. The remainder is used to grow MFA’s size and capacity so we can help even more animals in the future.
Changing Hearts. Changing Minds. Changing the World.
Nathan Runkle is the founder and president of Mercy For Animals. Raised on a farm in rural Ohio, Nathan has long had a deep connection with farmed animals. After a local farmed animal abuse case involving a piglet slammed headfirst into a concrete floor during an agricultural project at a nearby high school, Nathan founded MFA to give "food" animals a much-needed advocate in his local community.
Since founding MFA over a decade ago, Nathan has overseen the organization's growth into a leading international force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotion of compassionate food choices and policies.
A nationally recognized speaker on animal advocacy, factory farming, and veganism, Nathan has presented at colleges, conferences, and many other forums from coast to coast.
Through his work with MFA, Nathan has been an outspoken advocate for animal rights, featured in hundreds of television, radio, and newspaper interviews, including on ABC's World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20, CNN, and National Public Radio, and in USA Today, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.
Nathan works closely with MFA's diverse group of members, supporters, and employees to develop and fulfill objectives within the organization's four areas of focus: education, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and undercover investigations.
Nathan has worked alongside elected officials, corporate executives, heads of international organizations, academics, farmers, celebrities, and film producers to pass landmark farmed animal protection legislation, raise public awareness about vegetarianism, and implement animal welfare policy changes.
VegNews magazine has recognized both MFA and Nathan for making substantial contributions to the vegetarian movement, naming Nathan one of the "25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians" and one of the country's "Top 20 Activists Under 30 Years Old," and twice naming MFA "Non-Profit of the Year." In 2009, at the age of twenty-five, Nathan became the youngest person ever inducted into the US Animal Rights Hall of Fame.
Nick CooneyExecutive Vice President
Nick Cooney serves as executive vice president, overseeing MFA’s advocacy efforts, corporate outreach, and fundraising. Nick is also the author of several books, including Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change. He has lectured on effective advocacy across the U.S. and Europe, and hundreds of media outlets have spotlighted his work.
Matt RiceExecutive Vice President
Matt Rice, our executive vice president, works with MFA’s undercover investigators to expose animal abuse at factory farms and slaughterhouses. Among other successes, these investigations have led to raids of factory farms, rescues of abused farmed animals, and passage of anti-cruelty laws. Most importantly, they have opened the hearts and minds of millions of people to the power of their food choices to create a kinder world.
Jake MortonVice President of Operations
Jake Morton is our vice president of operations, managing the organization’s day-to-day operations, finances, IT, merchandise, and human resources. A longtime MFA supporter and once volunteer, Jake first became involved in animal protection as a teenager after meeting MFA’s president, Nathan Runkle, during an outreach event in his hometown.
Vandhana BalaGeneral Counsel
Vandhana Bala serves as our general counsel, working to put animal abusers behind bars. Vandhana became interested in animal rights in law school, became a vegetarian, and spent nearly a decade working at animal shelters and hospitals. Vandhana is now a committed vegan, and envisions a day when animals are viewed as more than personal property in the eyes of the law.
Robin MolerVice President of Development
Robin Moler, our vice president of development, loves to share MFA’s impact and vision with our supporters, whose generous investments are changing the lives of millions of farmed animals. After watching footage of a brutalized pig, Robin quickly decided she could do the most good by focusing on farmed animal advocacy. That was 26 years ago and it has been her passion ever since. Her family of six includes four rescued cats and an exceedingly affectionate Chihuahua.
Ari SolomonVice President of Communications
Ari Solomon is our vice president of communications, managing all things social media. He also serves as the liaison to celebrities involved in MFA’s campaigns. A prolific writer, Ari's work appears regularly on The Huffington Post, and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Advocate. Ari’s videos on veganism, including Sh*t Vegans Say, have become viral sensations, with nearly 2 million combined views.
Audrey SanchezVice President of Education
Audrey Sanchez serves as our vice president of education. In this role she helps raise public awareness of farmed animal suffering and ensures that the best resources are available to individuals adopting a plant-based diet. Audrey grew up in a rural Kansas town populated by more cows than people, a fact she credits with prompting both her desire to help animals and her initial vegetarianism. The day after her daughter was born, Audrey felt a newfound appreciation for the bond between a mother and child regardless of species and became an overnight vegan. Audrey lives in Kansas City with her husband, daughter, and an ever-growing assortment of rescued animals.
David PowellDirector of Information Technology
David Powell is our director of IT. Although he grew up on a standard Southern diet, David made the transition to a vegan lifestyle after watching his father suffer though a triple bypass and researching in depth the human diet and animal agriculture. David works alongside his four cats: Queenie, Google, Lambchop, and Aussie.
Brooke MaysEditor in Chief
Brooke Mays, MFA’s editor in chief, reviews all of MFA’s written material, and serves as managing editor for our semi-annual magazine, Compassionate Living. After an MFA investigation revealed startling animal abuse at an egg factory farm that supplied to Trader Joe’s, her letter to Trader Joe’s led the grocery giant to drop the cruel egg producer. Brooke has proven time and again that the pen is mightier than the sword!
Cailen LaBargeStaff Attorney
Cailen LaBarge serves as staff attorney for operations, assisting the general counsel with nonprofit administration, corporate governance, and intellectual property issues as well as proactive litigation. After an animal law clerkship opened her eyes to the suffering of farmed animals, Cailen became an advocate and a vegan. Cailen lives with her best friend, a pup named Floyd.
Cody CarlsonStaff Attorney
Cody Carlson serves as our staff attorney handling legislative affairs. A former MFA undercover investigator, Cody was inspired to go to law school after seeing factory farm suffering firsthand. Cody now works to pass laws improving conditions for farmed animals nationwide and to defeat “ag gag” laws that aim to turn his fellow investigators into criminals.
Alice Müller ColemanExecutive Assistant
Alice Müller Coleman serves as our executive assistant, providing high-level project execution and administrative support. Alice declared her transition to vegetarianism at the mere age of five thanks to the realization that all species were created equal. During her university days, she discovered that the dairy and meat industries were one and the same and quit all animal products for good. Grateful to live in Los Angeles, which happens to be her hometown and the vegan mecca, she shares her life with rescued companion animals Oliver Twist, Tesla, and Bob Dylan. Alice spends her spare time playing outdoors and seeking new vegan eats, sweets, and treats.
Clare BlandPhilanthropy Officer
Clare Bland serves as our philanthropy officer, bringing 23 years of development, program management, and nonprofit leadership experience to her role. Learning how smart and affectionate farmed animals were moved Clare to leave them off her plate for good. Clare and her husband Michael share their lives with two quirky rescued mutts, Ralph and Rufus.
Kelcey Meadows-LucasPhilanthropy Officer
Kelcey Meadows-Lucas serves as philanthropy officer, helping our donors fulfill their dreams of ending farmed animal cruelty. Adopting a feisty terrier 15 years ago opened her heart to all animals. Kelcey soon became vegan and dedicated her life to helping animals. She brings more than a decade of fundraising experience to her position. Kelcey shares her home with her still feisty dog, Patches, his sister, Maizy, and her husband and toddler son.
John KarasPhilanthropy Officer
John Karas is our philanthropy officer for the East Coast and the South. He works with friends and supporters who wish to match their personal philanthropic goals with MFA strategic initiatives. John is a graduate student researcher of social change and brings more than a decade of development experience to his position. John and his wife are parents of three great kids and share their home with adopted cats Rico and Captain, and rescue labs Baylor and Lola.
Mikael NielsenGlobal Campaigns Manager
Mikael Nielsen is our global campaigns manager, running international campaigns against major food retailers, restaurants, foodservice companies, consumer packaged goods companies, producers, and other food industry entities to bring about improved farmed animal welfare policies around the world. While Mikael had always been an animal lover, it was a friendly turkey on TV that inspired him to become veg in 1996.
Susan WeingartnerEvents Manager
Susan Weingartner is our events manager, organizing major events and other fundraising projects. She is an accomplished photographer, and for years her touching photos of rescued animals have raised much in vital funds for several organizations, including MFA. Susan and her son share their home with their three extremely outgoing cats, Aragorn, Kali, and Michael.
Liz QuickDevelopment Manager
Jamie BergerMedia Production Manager
Kate ZieglerResearch and Investigations Manager
Kyle FujisawaInvestigations and Research Associate
Kyle Fujisawa serves as investigations and research associate, conducting extensive research into agribusiness practices and animal welfare standards. In college, Kyle joined UC Santa Cruz’s animal advocacy club, where he first learned about MFA. He later became club president, working closely with MFA to develop more effective outreach techniques and maximize the number of students reached.
Mark DevriesInvestigations and Research Associate
Mark Devries serves as investigations and research associate, assisting MFA undercover investigators who are in the field. Mark analyzes investigative footage and also conducts economic and corporate research. He is producer and director of Speciesism: The Movie, which is widely used as an introduction to animal rights. He also directed the world's first drone-based investigation of factory farming, which has been viewed by tens of millions worldwide.
Sarah Von AltCommunications Specialist
Sarah Von Alt serves as communications specialist, overseeing the creation of content for MFA's blogs and social media. Sarah joined the team in her home state of Ohio, where she organized grassroots outreach and worked with volunteers. Her creativity, willingness to learn, and drive make her the perfect fit for our ever growing social media presence. Sarah shares her life with her rescue mutt, Frannie, who loves coming to the office for a hard day of napping.
Joe LoriaEmerging Social Media Specialist
Joe Loria serves as our emerging social media specialist, researching new social opportunities and creating content. Experienced in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, he has been instrumental to the success of numerous PR and social media campaigns. Upon discovering the horrors faced by farmed animals, Joe decided to become vegan. He is currently a proud cat dad to his fancy feline, Scout.
Sara LaycockCampaigns Manager
Sara Laycock serves as the corporate outreach team’s campaigns manager, helping develop campaigns to push major corporations to eliminate cruel practices throughout their global supply chains. She is an experienced lobbyist and community economic development advocate. Sara became vegan for her health, the environment, and most of all, for the animals. Sara and her husband, Rob, live in Denver, Colorado, with their mighty mutts Ruby and Cora.
Brian AlexanderCampaign Coordinator
Brian Alexander serves as a campaign coordinator, working to push major corporations to eliminate cruel practices throughout their supply chains. He went vegan when he realized that there were no fundamental differences between the animals we love and the ones we exploit. This realization prompted a dramatic career change that began with a stint in our volunteer campaign assistant program.
Emily HatchCampaign Coordinator
Emily Hatch serves as a U.S. campaign coordinator, planning and executing campaigns that urge food companies to adopt and expand animal welfare policies. A longtime vegetarian, Emily studied moral philosophy, animal rights, and business in college. She became vegan after reading Animal Liberation and dreams of a future in which all animals are treated with kindness and respect.
Tammy BorchertMerchandise Manager
Tessa UrbanovichDevelopment Assistant
Tessa Urbanovich is our development assistant, supporting people in their endeavors to create a more compassionate world. At a young age, Tessa knew she wanted to be a voice for animals. After earning her bachelor’s in communication studies at a private university in Orange County, she took a year to travel, volunteer, and pour herself into activism. Tessa is ecstatic to work with MFA to inspire compassion and end cruelty. She loves goats, tall trees, and aromatic candles.
Alan DarerGlobal Education Manager
Alan Darer is our global education manger. He works with activists on college campuses around the country, and leads the charge in the creation, launch, and evaluation of our online ads. Alan was raised a vegetarian, and after the shock of viewing a video about the cruel egg industry, he became vegan and started interning at MFA. The rest is history!
Shayna RowbothamGlobal Volunteer Manager
Shayna Rowbotham is our global volunteer manager, mobilizing activists around the world. She has always been passionate about animals, but it was undercover factory farm footage that prompted her to get active and advocate for farmed animals. Shayna and her partner, Sean, share their lives with their beautiful and spunky Chihuahua, Marchesa.
Nicole FurlanWeb Developer
Nicole Furlan serves as one of our web developers. Nicole has been working to protect all animals ever since her dog saved her life. A nearly lifelong vegetarian, she became vegan after watching undercover factory farming footage. She also advocates for unfairly stereotyped dog breeds and shares her home with her husband, Billy, and two loving rescued pit bulls, Brady and Bruno.
Gus MuellerWeb Developer
Gus Mueller likes to make things out of other things. In fact, he's been transforming caffeinated beverages into parts of the web for the past 20 years. A lover of nature and all things animal, he finally broke his addiction to cheese pizza and went vegan after being snowed in for two weeks with only vegan fare. Today he works as one of our web developers.
Hammer VasquezWeb Developer
Hammer Vasquez utilizes his web-developer superpowers to defend the voiceless. He became vegan out of compassion for animals and the realization that animal-product consumption is highly detrimental to human health. He has embraced a whole foods, plant-based diet with the occasional indulgence in vegan treats. He and his family have adopted a stray black cat whom they have named Elvira (though she really answers only to "Cat").
Cameron McBrideAssistant Web Developer
Cameron McBride serves as our assistant web developer. Upon discovering the effects of heavy meat consumption on the human body, Cameron adopted a healthy and humane plant-based diet. He currently shares his home with his wife, Erin, and three loving companion animals.
Jess WestbergVideo Editor
Jess Westberg serves as a video editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, she has worked in video post production and animation for many years, primarily in the realm of advertising, but also on a few television shows and documentaries. As a committed vegan who has been passionate about animal rights and protection for close to 20 years, Jess is excited to offer her professional skills to a cause that she really believes in. Jess shares her home with her adopted dogs Pickles and Daisy.
Krystal CaldwellStatistics Analyst
Krista HiddemaVice President, Canada
Krista Hiddema serves as vice president for MFA in Canada, spearheading corporate outreach initiatives and media relations, and leveraging MFA’s influence to strengthen governmental protections for animals in Canada. Krista and her husband, Nigel, share their home with their rescued companion animals, Pitou, Smurfette, Blue, Honey, Spice, Chip, and Dale.
Blanka Alfaro PolaVice President, Mexico
Blanka Alfaro Pola serves as our vice president for MFA in Mexico, creating, managing, and translating social media content and other communications for our Latin American audience. A resident of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Blanka worked in graphic design and marketing before leaving the world of commercial advertising to apply her skills to helping animals
Lucas AlvarengaVice President, Brazil
Lucas Alvarenga serves as vice president for MFA in Brazil. As a marketing professional, he was a serial entrepreneur in the digital arena. After deciding to dedicate his life to helping animals, he created Veggo.co, partnered with the Brazilian Vegetarian Society on a 21-Day Meatless Challenge, and organized Festival Veggo, the largest Brazilian vegan funfest. Lucas celebrated his 15th vegetarianism birthday by joining MFA’s team.
Subru SantakumarIndia Communications Coordinator
Subrahmanian Santakumar (Subru) serves as our communications coordinator in India. He reaches out to our Indian audience through social media and other avenues of communication, manages volunteers and outreach efforts, and serves as a liaison to activists and other organizations in the country. A resident of Bangalore, Subru is a passionate animal lover and wildlife photographer. He volunteered in animal rescue and rehabilitation for several years while maintaining a senior role at a telecommunications firm. After a career of more than 16 years in the corporate world, he has followed his heart to work for animals full time!
Fiona WongHong Kong Communications Coordinator
Fiona Wong, our Hong Kong communications coordinator, manages our initiatives in China. MFA’s video Farm to Fridge inspired Fiona to go vegan at the age of 18. Fiona’s only regret is that she did not discover the truth behind slaughterhouses earlier and save more lives. Fiona views working for MFA as a dream come true. She currently shares her home with rescued cats Mimi and Lanlan.
Christina WilsonCampaign Coordinator: Canada
Courtney DobbinProject Coordinator: Canada
Courtney Dobbin is project coordinator for MFA in Canada. She works closely with the managing director, assisting with media matters, campaigns, outreach, and more. After joining the team, she quickly discovered that her prime purpose was to reduce animal suffering across the country while planting seeds of compassion into the hearts of people.
Mariana Issa CabreraLatin American Vegetarian Support Specialist
Mariana Issa Cabrera serves as the Latin American vegetarian support specialist, providing assistance and resources to Spanish speakers near a critical tipping point between consuming animal products and going vegetarian. While working on behalf of stray companion animals, she started asking herself why love one but eat others. Her journey toward a plant-based diet began from there. Mariana feels her transition would have been easier if someone had been there to support her. She’s grateful to be able to guide other people through the rewarding process of going veg. She truly believes that in order to help animals we must help people achieve this major goal.