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

412 MILLION

animals spared from cruel cages and mutilation annually thanks to MFA's corporate policy victories*

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 national 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.

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.

Jaya Bhumitra

Director of Corporate Outreach

Jaya Bhumitra serves as our director of corporate outreach, encouraging major food retailers, grocery stores, and fast-food giants to adopt and strengthen animal welfare policies. After learning about California’s Proposition 2, a bill aimed at ending extreme confinement of farmed animals, Jaya immediately went vegan. Jaya shares her home with her partner, Chris, and three beautiful rescued animals.

Johnathan Skinner

Software Engineer

Johnathan Skinner is our software engineer, overseeing the organization’s impressive catalogue of websites. Wellsprings of information on the benefits of veganism and the cruel plight of farmed animals, MFA’s websites are visited by thousands of people every day. Johnathan began his professional career as a video game programmer, landing a job as a game creator for Nintendo just one year out of high school.

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.

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!

Cailen LaBarge

Staff Attorney

Cailen LaBarge serves as staff attorney, assisting the general counsel with proactive litigation, nonprofit administration, and legal analysis. 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.

Lina Cohen

Staff Attorney

Lina Cohen serves as staff attorney at MFA, lending support to undercover investigations and legislative efforts to end animal suffering on factory farms. 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 LA.

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.

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. It is also the world's first drone-based investigation of factory farming and 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.

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.

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!

Jamie Berger

Media Campaigns Coordinator

Jamie Berger serves as our media campaigns coordinator, 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. 

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.

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 two loving companion animals.

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.

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.

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.

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