About Mercy For Animals

Together we can end factory farming.
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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.


Our Approach

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.

Undercover
Investigations
Legal
Advocacy
Corporate
Outreach
Education

Our Success

Our programs are sparing millions of lives and reducing the suffering of animals around the globe.

*Approximately

1 BILLION

animals spared annually from cruel cages, mutilation, or being slaughtered while conscious

90 COUNTRIES

impacted by MFA's corporate policy victories

30 MILLION

animals freed from cruel cages annually thanks to new laws promoted by MFA and partner organizations*

5 MILLION

animals spared from misery annually thanks to MFA inspiring people to reduce or eliminate meat, egg and dairy consumption

Pie Chart for Mercy For Animals, showing that nearly 78 cents of every dollar spent by Mercy For Animals goes directly to programs that save animals

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.

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Our Team

Changing Hearts. Changing Minds. Changing the World.

Nathan Runkle

President

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 Cooney

Vice President

Nick Cooney serves as 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.

Jake Morton

Director of Operations

Jake Morton is our director of operations, managing the organization’s day-to-day operations, finance, human resources, and collaborating with MFA’s communications department to create fun advocacy materials, including videos and merchandise. 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 Bala

General 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.

Matt Rice

Director of Investigations

Matt Rice, our director of investigations, 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.

Robin Moler

Director of Development

Robin Moler, our director 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 Solomon

Director of Communications

Ari Solomon is our director 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 Sanchez

Director of Education

Audrey Sanchez serves as our director 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 Powell

Lead Developer

David Powell is our lead developer. 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 Mays

Editor 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!

Lina Cohen

Staff Attorney

Lina Cohen serves as staff attorney for undercover investigations, lending support to the investigations department and working with law enforcement to secure criminal convictions of farmed animal abusers. Lina interned at MFA as a law student and joined the team after graduation. Lina is passionate about animal rights and always on the lookout for new vegan restaurants in Los Angeles.

Cailen LaBarge

Staff 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 Carlson

Staff 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 Coleman

Executive 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 Bland

Philanthropy 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-Lucas

Philanthropy 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 Karas

Philanthropy 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 Nielsen

Volunteer Manager

Mikael Nielsen is our volunteer manager, mobilizing activists around the world. While Mikael had always been an animal lover, it was a friendly turkey on TV that inspired him to become vegan in 1996. Mikael says that working for Mercy For Animals is a dream come true.

Susan Weingartner

Events 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 Quick

Development Manager

Liz Quick serves as our development manager and supervises all of MFA’s fundraising campaigns. Liz went vegan after becoming aware of the harsh realities of factory farming. She lives in sunny Los Angeles and is a proud pug mama to her very, very lazy pug, Penny.

Jamie Berger

Media Production Manager

Jamie Berger serves as our media production manager, executing mass media vegan advocacy efforts. Her professional experience includes both federal lobbying and public relations, and The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and other major national news outlets have featured her written work. 

 

Kate Ziegler

Senior Investigations and Research Associate

Kate Ziegler is our senior investigations and research associate, analyzing evidence documented by MFA’s undercover investigators for potential violations of law. Kate credits her family with shaping her into the socially conscious and compassionate person she is.

Kyle Fujisawa

Investigations 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 Devries

Investigations 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 Alt

Communications 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 Loria

Emerging 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 Laycock

Campaigns 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 Alexander

Campaign 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 Hatch

Campaign 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 Borchert

Administrative and Merchandising Assistant

Tammy Borchert serves as our administrative and merchandising assistant, bringing expertise and years of experience in nonprofit apparel and campaigning. Strongly impacted by an in-depth study of yoga and two lovely rescued companion animals that shared her home, Tammy became vegan and has never looked back.

Tessa Urbanovich

Development 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 Darer

Education Project Coordinator

Alan Darer is our education project coordinator. 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 Rowbotham

Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

Shayna Rowbotham is our assistant volunteer coordinator and helps engage activists across North America. 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 Furlan

Web Developer

Nicole Furlan serves as our web developer. Nicole has been defending 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 Mueller

Web 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 Vasquez

Web 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 McBride

Assistant 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 Westberg

Video 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 Caldwell

Statistics Analyst

Krystal Caldwell is our statistics analyst, responsible for research design, data analysis, and testing. She dedicates her time to improving the lives of animals because there are no justifiable reasons to treat animals with anything but respect.

Join Our Team

View Job Openings

Interested in Joining our Team? Click here to see our current job openings.

MFA also invites individuals to join us as volunteers and interns. Please visit our Volunteer Sign-Up Form and Internship Program pages for more details.

International

Krista Hiddema

Managing Director, Canada

Krista Hiddema is managing director 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 Pola

Latin American Communications Coordinator

Blanka Alfaro Pola serves as our Latin American communications coordinator, 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 Alvarenga

Brazil Communications Coordinator

Lucas Alvarenga oversees MFA’s efforts 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 Santakumar

India 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 Wong

Hong 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 Wilson

Campaign Coordinator: Canada

Christina Wilson is the campaign coordinator for MFA in Canada where she works with major food retailers and producers to improve living conditions for farmed animals. Christina credits her wonderful dog, Charlie, for guiding her into a life of animal advocacy.

Courtney Dobbin

Project 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.

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