“It’s not just about being against cruelty. It’s about being for compassion.”
Reared on a farm in rural Ohio, Nathan Runkle’s connection with farm animals runs deep. So deep, he always knew his life would center around the protection and care of these sentient beings.
After a local farmed animal abuse case involving a piglet slammed headfirst into a concrete floor during an agriculture project at a nearby high school, Nathan founded Mercy For Animals to give “food” animals a much-needed advocate in his local community.
He was just 15 years old.
Today, Nathan is the very person he was always meant to be: a world renown animal rights advocate; a nationally recognized speaker; and the man who has tactfully shepherded Mercy For Animals from that high school project into a leading international force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and the promotion of compassionate food choices and policies.
Named one of the country’s “Top 20 Activists Under 30 Years Old” and the youngest person ever inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame (he was 25), Nathan has been featured in hundreds of prominent media outlets and has spent decades working alongside elected officials, corporate executives, heads of international organizations, academics, farmers, celebrities, and film producers to pass landmark legislation and implement animal welfare policy changes.
Nathan is also the author of the new and aptly titled, Mercy For Animals. A fascinating call-to-action memoir, the book chronicles Nathan’s personal story from grassroots activist to global animal rights leader while elucidating the history and current state of U.S. factory farming and animal welfare; the environmental and human health implications of food policy; and the compassionate future he envisions.
Today I go deep with someone who always knew exactly who he wanted to be and what he wanted to do with his life.
We dig into Nathan’s early interest in animal welfare, the founding of MFA in his teens and the undercover work that followed. We discuss the current state and implications of factory farming on animal, human and planetary health. And we review the regulatory landscape that governs our food systems and the implications of the clean meat movement on the future of food.
But ultimately, this is a conversation about being who you are. It’s about turning compassion into action. It’s about the ethical and environmental implications of our daily food choices. And it’s about the power we all hold to create change and forge a more compassionate and sustainable world for generations to come.
For the visually inclined, the video version of the podcast is also available on YouTube.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
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Thanks to this week’s sponsors
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Check out Nathan’s book: Mercy For Animals: One Man’s Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals*
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect with Nathan: Mercy For Animals | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn
- Vegan Music and Food Festival: Circle V
- NY Daily News: Want to combat climate change and Trump’s denialism? Eat less meat by Nathan Runkle
- Advocate: The Animal Rights Movement Gives a Gay Man Lessons in Activism by Nathan Runkle
- Signature: The Worst Thing You’re Doing for Animal Rights and the Environment By Nathan Runkle
- Eco Watch: Big Food Is Worried About Millennials Avoiding Animal Products by Nathan Runkle
- GreenBiz: Can technology create the ‘humane economy’? by Nathan Runkle and Gene Stone
- YouTube: Mercy For Animals, A New Book by MFA Founder Nathan Runkle | Mercy For Animals
- Mercy For Animals: Los Angeles City Council Honors MFA Founder Nathan Runkle! by Ari Solomon
- Huffington Post: How One Piglet Launched An International Organization Fighting Animal Cruelty by Michael Sainato
- KTLA 5: Speaking Out Against Farm Animal Abuse – Author Nathan Runkle with Lu Parker and Glen Walker
- Alternate: Moby: I Asked One of the World’s Leading Animal Advocates Why He’s Betting Big on Food Technology to End Animal Cruelty by Moby
- Goodnet: The Man Who Gives a Voice to the Voiceless [Q&A]
- Veg News: Animal-Rights Legend Honored by LA City Council by Anna Starostinetskaya
- LiveKindly: Mercy For Animals: Nathan Runkle’s New Book & Lifelong Quest for Compassion by Nadia Murray-Ragg
- Care 2: Mercy for Animals Founder Nathan Runkle Discusses the Future of Food by Susan Bird
- OZY: The Animal Rights Advocate Re-envisioning the Future of Food by Molly Fosco
- Jane Unchained: Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals Cooks Quinoa! by Jane Velez-Mitchell
- Mot Mag: Exclusive Interview With Nathan Runkle Of Mercy For Animals by Tom ‘The Don’ Draper
- Organic Authority: This is What It’s Like Being an Undercover Animal Rights Investigator by Jill Ettinger
- Website: The Good Food Institute
- Documentary: What The Health*
- Clean meat producers: Memphis Meats
- Plant-based meat producers: Beyond Meat
- Plant-based meat producers: Impossible Foods
- Plant-based foods producer: Hampton Creek
Notable People Discussed
- Bruce Friedrich: Executive director at The Good Food Institute, founding partner at New Crop Capital and podcast guest
- Moby: DJ, record producer, singer, songwriter, musician, photographer, animal rights activist and podcast guest
- Uma Valeti, MD: Cardiologist, entrepreneur and CEO of Memphis Meats
- Upton Sinclair: American author
- Gary Francione: legal scholar known for his work on animal rights theory
- Jane Goodall: primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace
- Bill Gates: Co-founder of the world’s largest PC software company – Microsoft
- Ethan Brown: Founder and CEO of plant-based meat producer: Beyond Meat
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #35: Gene Baur: Farm Sanctuary On Factory Farming, Ag-Gag Bills, Health & Consumer Choice
- RRP #138: How To Live More In Alignment With Your Values With Gene Baur
- RRP #240: Dr. Melanie Joy On Going Beyond Carnism: Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs And Wear Cows
- RRP #286: Bruce Friedrich Is Innovating The Future Of Food
- RRP #222: How Jasmin Singer Lost 100 Pounds By Finding Peace With Herself
- RRP# 278: “What The Health” – How Corporate Collusion Is Making Us Sick & Costing Us Trillions“
- RRP #203: Suzy Amis Cameron’s Mission To Save The Planet — Rethinking Education, Agriculture, Health & The American Diet
- RRP #136: Ethan Brown: Reinventing How To Feed The World
- RRP #226: Moby On Transforming Electronic Music Elevating Consciousness & Saving The Planet
Thanks to Moby for this week’s interstitial track: “Lenox“; Jason Camiolo for audio engineering, production and show notes; Shawn Patterson for graphics; and Bobby Sud for videography. Theme music by Ana Leimma.
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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