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MFA Celebrates 15 Years of Compassion

Story ID:9830
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:? Ohio usa
Person:Nathan Runkle
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Nathan Runkle was only 15 years old when he witnessed a cruelty to a piglet
in an Ohio high school classroom. This would change his life forever. Obviously,
possessing a compassionate heart, he would soon start Mercy for Animals
which is commemorating its 15th anniversary this year.

On that day in high school, Nathan and the rest of the class witnessed one
student picking up a baby piglet and violently slamming her headfirst into the
ground in an attempt to kill her. She was to be the subject of a dissection.

But the little pig didn’t die. Bleeding from the mouth and her skull severely
fractured, she was rescued by a compassionate student and taken to a
veterinarian’s office to be euthanized. Was that compassionate student Nathan?
I personally believe so, but he does not identify the rescuer in this post.

I wondered how the rest of the class felt about this. I believe Nathan lived in
a farming community. Had the majority of these children of farmers become
immune to witnessing animal suffering? I hope not, but upon reading about
this cruelty, I wished that it had been videotaped and then sent to all the high
school class rooms over the entire USA. I believe it would change those students
with a compassionate heart to probably alter their meat-centered diet forever.

Even though animal cruelty charges were leveled against the student and
teacher involved with this incident and there was a public outcry –the judge
dismissed the case. It was then that Nathan learned that slamming baby piglets
headfirst into the ground is considered standard and acceptable practice by
the pork industry. And not surprisingly, there were no laws to protect animals
from this type of abuse.

I remember a few years back at being floored when a pig farmer and his sons
who hung sick pigs as a form of euthanasia as well as tossing sick piglets
around like footballs got off almost scot free in this Ohio court. Even though
the prosecutor won his case, the uncaring judge’s punishment was a fine of
paltry fine of $100. I believe it was then that I realized that there are judges
of all stripes –sadly among them those lacking in compassion for animal life
These would probably not be the rare exceptions either.


The incident witnessing what happened to that little piglet was motivation
enough for Nathan Runkle to start Mercy for Animals a short time later. During
the ensuing 15 years- MFA has scored some impressive victories -some of them
major and historic.

One of the hard-earned victories occurred in 2013 with the MFA investigation
of a Tyson Foods’ pig factory where they uncovered widespread and sadistic
animal abuse. Because of their efforts, Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest
meat producer, agreed to adopt new animal welfare guidelines. Among them
was a prohibition against slamming baby piglets headfirst into the ground.

What joy Nathan and the other members of MFA must have felt with this historic
agreement. And of course -for Nathan a special happiness that he could now tell
himself that the little pig in an Ohio classroom did not die in vain.

Now I hope that MFA will join the other animal welfare groups to get rid of the
cruel, confining gestation crates which literally imprison mother pigs. They have
no room at all to even turn around.

May those of us who can help support this well-deserved organization will do so.
They and the others who work for animal welfare cannot exist without it.