Nathan Runkle, Founder of Mercy For Animals   
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The images in the following program are very sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals.

Respected viewers, on this week’s edition of Stop Animal Cruelty, we meet Nathan Runkle, the courageous vegan founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy group based in Chicago, USA.

The organization conducts sustained community outreach efforts and effective advertising campaigns to inform people of the exploitation and torture of farm animals and why we must switch to a plant-based diet. Mercy For Animals also performs undercover investigations of factory farms in the US to bring to light the unfathomable barbarism and violence that occurs in the meat, dairy and egg industries on a daily basis.

We focus on protecting farmed animals because this is the area of animal abuse in our society where the largest number of animals are killed and exploited. Over nine billion cows, pigs and chickens in the United States are killed for food every year. If we look at the global level we’re talking about over 50 billion farmed animals!

And each one of these animals are unique individuals with their own personalities and needs and interests. So Mercy For Animals sets out to expose the cruelty that’s taking place in factory farms and in slaughterhouses and inspire consumers to adopt a healthy and compassionate plant based diet.

Why did Nathan Runkle decide to make safeguarding our animal co-inhabitants his life’s work?

I was actually raised on a farm in rural Ohio (USA) and always had a natural affinity for animals. I always cared deeply about their protection and I witnessed a lot of animal abuse growing up and that always felt wrong to me.

When I was 11 years old, I came across information by a local animal protection organization that opened my heart and my eyes to animal cruelty issues on a broader scheme and taught me about factory farming or the industrial animal agriculture systems that are used in this country and across the world where animals are kept in tiny cages and stalls and pens, so small that they oftentimes can’t even turn around, and they can’t extend their own limbs.

I learned about the harsh realities of slaughterhouses and at that young age I felt that this cruelty was not something that I wanted to support. It wasn’t something that I wanted to take place in my name and I became a vegetarian at that young age. And then we formed Mercy For Animals a few years later.

So how old were you when you actually started it?

I was 15 years old when we formed Mercy For Animals. I saw a need for an organization in our local community to work on behalf of farmed animals, these animals being so abused, so intensively confined, having basically no legal protection from some of the harshest abuses. We set out to give these animals a voice and have grown to a national force since then.

There is a reason why factory farms and slaughterhouses keep tight security and do not allow outsiders to view what goes on within their walls. If people were to see the mass murder and obscene torment of innocent beings occurring inside, the consumption of animal products would quickly end.

Really backbone to the advocacy work that we do on behalf of farmed animals is undercover investigations, inside of factory farms, hatcheries, and slaughterhouses. And our investigators go in and they serve as the eyes and the ears for all of us, every consumer.

They go in, they work side by side with people in these factory farms and slaughterhouses for months on end; they risk their personal safety, they give up everything that they know, they go in wired with hidden cameras and they document case after case of routine and systematic animal cruelty and neglect in these facilities.

We have entered seven of the largest egg farms in the United States from coast to coast, and every single time without exception our investigators find just appalling abuse. We’ve been inside of the world’s largest hatchery and inside of poultry slaughterhouses.

Inside of these egg farms our investigators document the standard confinement of these birds, which consist of cages stacked in tiers, lined up in rows, in huge windowless warehouses, where up to 200,000 birds are kept in wire cages that are about the size of a folded newspaper. And anywhere from five to seven birds are crammed into these cages.

They can’t fully spread their wings, they can’t walk, they can’t perch, they can’t dust bathe, they can’t engage in the most natural behaviors. And these birds as a result, they lose their feathers, and they get injuries and infections. Their lives are just filled with the most harsh treatment and exploitation that any of us could imagine.

When they’re about two years old they’re ripped out of their cages and they’re literally thrown into metal kill carts, which are then filled with gas and the birds are killed. This is the reality of modern egg production. This is how 95% of egg laying hens live and die.

On the front end of the egg industry the male chicks which hatch are considered useless. So what happens in the United States every single year is that over 200 million male chicks are disposed of. They’re either thrown away into trash cans while they’re still alive, or as we documented at the world’s largest hatchery, these male chicks are thrown alive into grinding machines.

When Stop Animal Cruelty returns, we will continue our discussion with Nathan Runkle, founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

This is Stop Animal Cruelty on Supreme Master Television, featuring an interview with Nathan Runkle, the vegan founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals, a non-profit animal rights group based in Chicago, USA. The organization was founded in 1999 and has over 35,000 members and supporters.

So what has been the public response to your work?

People are really kept largely in the dark on where their food comes from, and that is intentional. The meat and the dairy and the egg industries spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to convince consumers that farmed animals live happy lives out in open pastures and they come back to the big red barn. But that’s not the case.

The vast majority of farmed animals are intensively confined on factory farms, where they’re unable to move, turn around, and they’re mutilated without painkillers. And when people find out the harsh reality of these systems and the fact that cows, pigs and chickens are being treated as little more than production units and commodities, not as the sentient individuals capable of feeling pain that they are, people feel like they’ve been misled by the meat, dairy and egg industries.

And the more that people learn about these industries the more they see that the treatment that these animals endure is unacceptable and it runs against their most basic needs, and that most people, I believe, are good at heart and they’re compassionate and we’re seeing really a groundswell of people that are starting to reject these industries.

The imprisoned animals are raised under nightmarish conditions, with every aspect of their growth controlled in order to maximize profits, without a thought given to their desperate cries that fill the air asking for mercy.

In many regards these are almost “Frankenstein” animals of what they once were because they’ve been genetically manipulated, they’ve had their feed manipulated, their lighting manipulated, and many of them are injected with growth hormones. So we now see our broiler chickens or meat type birds, going to slaughter when they’re only 45 days old.

And these birds have been bred to grow so large and so fast they are victims of their own bodies. They have crippling leg deformities. They have problems breathing. Many of them have heart attacks. Some studies say that 90% of these birds have problems even walking.

You look at turkeys, they suffer the same sort of problems to the extent that they can’t even reproduce naturally. All of them have to be artificially inseminated. Pigs are artificially inseminated, dairy cows are artificially inseminated and these animals endure those cycles over and over and over again until their bodies can’t take it and they’re slaughtered.

In 2007, Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation of the seventh largest turkey slaughterhouse in the USA. What they found was beyond shocking.

Our investigator gained employment at the facility and worked on the “live hang deck,” which is where trucks come in with the birds in crates. They come from the turkey farms where they live in huge sheds packed wing to wing, living in their own feces in these huge windowless warehouses oftentimes.

And what he documented is they arrive at this facility and the workers take these frightened birds who are flailing and screaming, rip them out by their legs and snap them by their fragile limbs into these moving shackles which take the birds upside down, fully conscious, and still alive through a process. And the first stage after they’ve been slapped into these moving shackles is their heads are taken through a pool of electrified water.

And what this water does is it paralyzes the birds temporarily so that they can’t move and then a rotating blade slits their throat. And the investigation found these birds flailing about, blood all over their feathers, and this form of slaughter is standard.

This is how the eight billion or more chickens in this country and the over 200 million turkeys in this country are killed every single year. So that’s the day to day operations at this facility, subjecting these birds to enormous cruelty.

One of the problems with this slaughter system is that some of these birds will go into the scalding hot feather removal tanks of water while they’re still conscious because their throats either weren’t slit at all or the birds hadn’t bled out or they weren’t dead yet by the time they reached these tanks of water. So some of these birds go into the water while they’re still alive.

We all have the power to end the horrendous scenes we have seen today that are representative of what is occurring all across the world. Please choose to follow a compassionate organic vegan diet as it ensures that animals are spared from being brutalized, exploited and violently killed for food.

Our deep appreciation goes to Nathan Runkle for being a true hero and standing up on behalf of our animal friends. May all animals on Earth soon enjoy free and beautiful lives as a result of the efforts of groups like Mercy For Animals and individuals adopting the plant-based lifestyle.

For more details on Mercy For Animals, please visit www.MercyForAnimals.org or www.ChooseVeg.com

Thank you for being with us on today’s program. Please join us next Tuesday on Stop Animal Cruelty for Part 2 of our interview with Nathan Runkle. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May all life always be protected and cherished and receive the blessings of Heaven.

There are several stories of how animals have communicated. Probably one of the first things that I heard, other than my first mare, was some chickens about two days after I started communicating.

Besides being a gifted telepathic animal communicator, Ms. Holly Davis also has expertise in the field of Zoopharmacognosy or the study of animals self-selecting and using specific plants with medicinal properties for treatment of their health conditions.

I've primarily been working with it with my own horses. I've been working with them for about two years now. And we've been making some really good headway with it.

Please watch “Soul to Soul: Telepathic Animal Communicator Holly Davis – Parts 1 and 2,” Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15 on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants.
The images in the following program are very sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals.

This is an issue that transcends age, gender, background, anything, because everyone has to eat. Everyone has to make food choices. And our food choices have profound consequences, not only on our own bodies and health, but on the environment that we all live in, the one Earth that we all share, and the lives of animals.

Benevolent viewers, on this week’s edition of Stop Animal Cruelty, we feature Part 2 of our interview with Nathan Runkle, the courageous vegan founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals, a non-profit animal advocacy group based in Chicago, USA.

The organization conducts sustained community outreach efforts and effective advertising campaigns to inform people of the exploitation and torture of farm animals and why we must switch to a plant-based diet. Mercy For Animals also performs undercover investigations of factory farms in the US to bring to light the unfathomable barbarism and violence that occurs in the meat, dairy and egg industries on a daily basis.

The footage from our undercover investigations really speak for themselves. And these animals are living oftentimes in their own excrement. And these inherent problems with factory farm systems, when you take hundreds of thousands of animals or millions of animals and confine them intensively in any given area, there is bound to be diseases and infections that run rampant, because these are breeding grounds for disease and filth.

These animals are all creating an enormous amount of excrement and urine and oftentimes they’re living in these conditions and especially with egg farms, these birds can develop eye infections, sinus infections, and other sorts of respiratory problems, because they’re constantly, day in and day out, 365 days a year, having to breathe in the ammonia and other sort of toxic fumes that are being created by their feces.

A study by Penn State University, USA found that pigs were able to learn to play computer games with specially adapted joysticks within minutes. Sadly most of our pig friends are treated as if they are not even living beings and eventually cruelly slaughtered.

Another recent investigation that we conducted was at a pig breeding facility and this was in Pennsylvania, one of the largest pig breeding facilities in the country; thousands of sows or mother pigs locked inside of two feet wide metal stalls called gestation crates. And these stalls are so restrictive that the sows can’t turn around, they can’t even lie down comfortably.

They’re kept in these stalls for almost four months at a time and as a result many of these pigs will literally go insane from a lack of physical and mental stimulation. They will bang their heads up against the sides of their cages constantly. And, these are animals that are just as intelligent as dogs and in fact three year old humans and they’re deprived of any stimulation. They can’t do anything but take one or two steps forward or backwards.

He also documented baby piglets at this facility being thrown across the room like footballs at the other workers and them being grabbed roughly by their ears and being thrown to carts. He documented the standard practice of mutilating piglets without a single drop of painkillers.

The male piglets have their testicles ripped out of their bodies, cutting through their skin and nerves without pain relief. Having their tails cut off without any painkillers. These animals squeal in pain and fight in terror as this happens to them. Our investigator also documented sows with untreated infections, prolapsed uteruses, broken bones, just a host of medical emergencies, and these animals were denied any meaningful veterinary care.

And we are led to believe that these sort of conditions are in fact very common and standard in these industries based on the various investigations that we’ve conducted. Our investigator found that the sick or injured piglets at this facility were not treated by veterinarians but in fact they were killed by being literally thrown into gassing carts, where it would take sometimes up to 10 or 15 minutes for these animals to die. They were killed with carbon dioxide, which is painful. It’s acidic for these animals, essentially suffocation.

And he would find that many of these animals would survive the process and then have to be gassed again; it’s extremely fearful and terrorizing for them. And this is the ugly face of intensive agriculture and this is what we’re supporting when we buy pork products.

Globally, over 56 billion land animals are mutilated and murdered each year for food. The loss of life in the oceans is also of unimaginable proportions.

According to the United Nations, in 2005, commercial fishing operations took 90 million tons of fish from the oceans. However this huge figure does not even begin to give one an idea of the true scale of death caused by the fishing industry.

Fish are just as sentient and just as capable of suffering as any land animal is. They have the same capacity to suffer and deserve protection as well. And we’re at a crucial point right now with dwindling populations of fish and this is largely due to overfishing and huge trawler nets which essentially clearcut the ocean of all of their life, sweeping up everyone and everything in their path, because these nets are indiscriminate.

And factory farming is taking place with fish as well. These animals are being confined in crowding concrete troughs and they’re having infections and all sorts of welfare problems as well.

When Stop Animal Cruelty returns, we will continue our discussion with Nathan Runkle, founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Our investigator also documented birds with broken wings, with cantaloupe size tumors on their bodies. And these are birds that were sent through the slaughter process and potentially going into the human food supply as well. So this investigation shined a bright spotlight on the cruel realities of what takes place behind the closed doors of our nation’s slaughterhouses.

This is Stop Animal Cruelty on Supreme Master Television, featuring an interview with Nathan Runkle, the vegan founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals, a non-profit animal rights group based in Chicago, USA.

The organization was founded in 1999 and has over 35,000 members and supporters. Factory farm and slaughterhouse workers are also casualties of a bloody and destructive system. Studies have found that these employees experience higher than average rates of drug addiction, alcoholism, violence, suicide, mental illness and family disharmony as compared to the general population.

They work day in and day out, shackling animals, sending them to their deaths and slitting their throats. It’s a violent place to work and is not only physically dangerous and demanding but it’s also emotionally damaging for the workers themselves. So we see that slaughterhouses are not only one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation to work at, but many of the people that are working there suffer themselves from having to witness so much cruelty and violence on a regular basis.

In many ways the workers in factory farms and slaughterhouses are victims in their own sense. Many of these individuals are undocumented workers who are taking this job out of desperation. There are poor working conditions and these people are oftentimes victims of this out of control industrial farming as well. They’re doing the dirty work that few people want to do.

And these systems are inherently cruel to the animals because you’re raising thousands of animals in intensive confinement, and it’s just simply impossible to provide these animals with any sort of basic care that fulfills their natural needs. And these people that work in these facilities oftentimes become desensitized to what’s taking place there, because they have to, for the sake of their job, participate in this abuse and as a result oftentimes take out their anger and frustration on these animals.

Part of Mercy For Animal’s mission is to help expand people’s love for farm animals. Mr. Runkle now speaks about societal attitudes toward our fellow sentient beings.

In our society, often when people talk about farm animals, it’s in a derogatory way. Somebody that may be lazy or overweight is called a pig, or somebody that is shy or fearful is called a chicken. And we sort of reduced farmed animals to something that we don’t want to be and is negative. But the reality is the more you get to know farmed animals, the more you see that they are every bit as intelligent and sensitive and caring of others of their own species and other species as dogs and cats, which many of us know and love.

And there have been many animal behaviorists, and ethologists that have actually started to study farm animal cognition or learning. And every year more exciting information comes out. So, for example, what they’re learning is that chickens have a language of their own. We now know of over 30 different calls that chickens have. They have different inflections with their way in which they communicate with chickens that they consider to be friends or that they are more intimate with.

Mercy for Animals has saved many victims of the intensive animal agriculture system during the course of its undercover investigations. We asked Nathan Runkle to tell us about one of the animals the group liberated.

One case that I think is particularly telling is of a hen that I actually rescued from a factory farm in Ohio, and this was a bird that was thrown away in a trash can on an egg farm. She was still alive; she was hanging onto her life, she was left to die on top of dozens of other dead birds. And we were there documenting the conditions and I saw this hen look up from atop this pile and we took her out of this bin and took her to veterinarian who treated her and brought her back to health.

And then we moved her on to a wonderful farm sanctuary in Ohio where she is able to live out the rest of her life. She is able to spread her wings and engage in natural behaviors and she has a happy ending. She serves as an ambassador for over 200 million chicks and hens that we have to leave behind in these facilities.

Here are some final thoughts from Mr. Runkle on the unconscionable practice of factory farming and how we can end it.

We vote every time we sit down to eat. Every time that we pay for our food we are paying for a certain form of production and the consequences of that. So we encourage people to use your pocketbook, use your money to vote in line with your values, and to vote for a kinder world, a more sustainable world and if we all started doing that the accumulative effect would just be incredible. We really owe it to our children and our children’s children and future generations to address this issue now before it’s too late.

We applaud Nathan Runkle and the members and supporters of Mercy For Animals who valiantly advocate on behalf of our animal friends. May all animals on Earth soon enjoy free and beautiful lives as a result of the efforts of groups like Mercy For Animals and individuals following the plant-based diet.

For more details on Mercy For Animals, please visit www.MercyForAnimals.org or www.ChooseVeg.com

Thank you for being with us today on Stop Animal Cruelty. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May we all awaken now and adopt the life-affirming organic vegan lifestyle to protect the animals, save humanity, and preserve our one and only planet.

In response to disasters or when someone has gone missing, K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas goes into action!

The dog will track or trail the path or the track that the person walked, in order to locate them.

To meet some of the team’s swift and intelligent dogs, join us on “Devoted Canine Heroes: K-9 Search and Rescue of Texas” Saturday, May 22, on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants.

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