The Man Who Gives a Voice to the Voiceless [Q&A]

Mercy for Animals founder Nathan Runkle tells Goodnet what inspires him to dedicate his life to animals

Sep 22, 2017
Nathan Runkle poses with a rescued cow

Nathan Runkle is the youngest person ever to be inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame. (Mercy for Animals)

Mercy For Animals believes that a humane society is possible and is strongly committed to stand up for animals and reduce the amount of suffering in the food industry. Their efforts are focussed on, but not limited to, protecting farmed animals and by utilizing a broad range of strategic approaches Mercy for Animals inspires consumers to make compassionate food choices.

For this week's 10 Good Questions, Goodnet spoke to Mercy for Animals founder Nathan Runkle to get an inside look into the mind of one of the planet's most prolific animal rights activist.

1. WHAT IS YOUR POSITION?

Founder and president of Mercy For Animals.

2. WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION’S MISSION?

We work hard to prevent cruelty to farmed animals and promote compassionate food choices and policies.

3. WHO INSPIRES YOU?

Animals inspire me. With their own minds, personalities, rich emotional lives, and social bonds, they are someones, not somethings. They crave freedom and companionship, love and safety. When I was six, one beautiful white rat named Caesar inspired me to think differently about our relationship with animals. Caesar was clever and friendly, and before I rescued him, destined to be killed in laboratory experiments. He taught me that dogs and cats aren’t the only creatures who deserve our respect. When it comes to suffering, all animals are equal. I began to challenge the notion of calling some animals pets and others pests, some food and others friends. I realized the only meaningful difference is our perception of them.

I’m also inspired by the bravery of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses — their heroic efforts to escape imminent slaughter or prolonged confinement. From pigs figuring out how to unlock crates, to cows leaping over giant slaughterhouse walls, every day there are countless untold stories of animals exhibiting remarkable gusto to save their own lives. They inspire me to speak up on their behalf and do everything I can to build a kinder future for all.

4. WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?

Seeing, on a daily basis, how kind, generous, and selfless people can be. I’m continually humbled and inspired by how supporters of the organization will volunteer their precious time, dig deep and make incredible donations, and do everything else in their power to protect farmed animals, the weakest and most vulnerable among us, from cruelty and abuse. Our supporters give me hope.

5. WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO SONG THESE DAYS?

The entire new Halsey album. It plays on repeat constantly.

6. DO YOU HAVE A SIMPLE TRICK THAT CAN MAKE SOMEONE ELSE FEEL GOOD INSTANTLY?

Smile. Be authentic. Care about others and the world around you.

7. GYM OR YOGA?

Yoga, for sure.

8. WHAT WAS YOUR LAST GOOGLE SEARCH?

A book search: The Founder's Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth

9. BOOKS OR MOVIES?

Documentaries.

10. WHAT DO YOU WANT GOODNET USERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION?

That we are a voice for the vast majority of animals used and abused in our society—animals who are nevertheless the least visible and most ignored. Each year over 9 billion land animals (an insanely huge and incomprehensible number) are slaughtered for food in the U.S. alone. Yet each of these animals is an individual with just as much personality and spark for life as the dogs and cats so many of us love and consider family members.

Mercy For Animals is on the frontlines working to protect these beautiful creatures. Through our four program areas, undercover investigations, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and consumer education, we are helping end much of this sickening abuse. By pushing for stronger laws and corporate policies we improve the lives of over a billion animals each year. I also want users to know that they can take small actions in their everyday lives to help these animals. Moving toward a plant-based diet is a practical and powerful way to treat animals with the respect they deserve.

DAVID RUHM, EDITOR & WRITER
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.

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