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Mercy for Animals: One Man's Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A compelling look at animal welfare and factory farming in the United States from Mercy For Animals, the leading international force in preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.

Nathan Runkle would have been a fifth-generation farmer in his small midwestern town. Instead, he founded our nation's leading nonprofit organizatio
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Avery Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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Start your review of Mercy for Animals: One Man's Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals
This book was heavy. And moving. And inspiring.

Mercy for Animals is an organization that is dear to my heart. I've heard Nathan Runkle speak numerous times on vegan podcasts and he is a special man. He's devoted much of his life to improving the quality of life for farm animals. He and his fellow cohorts from MfA have had to go deep into the ugly parts of factory farming to make this happen.

I think most everyone is against animal cruelty, but some people don't think this applies to farm an
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had more stars to give. This is a passionate, informative book that exposes the horrors of factory farming. It also explains what can be done when you have the courage to change things. It's a book everyone should read. It will open your eyes and your heart. ...more
Ariel ✨
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vegan
Amazing. I have never read such in-depth accounts of undercover slaughterhouse workers. It was only a fraction of the whole book, but it will absolutely stick with me.

Nathan Runkle spends a few pages detailing his journey at the beginning of the book as a young gay teen in rural Ohio to the founder of one of the largest animal rights organizations in the world. I first heard a little of his journey on the Chickpeeps Podcast (hosted by Evanna Lynch aka Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movie fran
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I was hooked from the moment I opened this book until I turned the last page. You can tell that the author is not only knowledgeable in the subject matter but also very passionate about it. It really pulls at your heart strings.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I find the descriptions of the truth of what goes on in the animal agriculture industry far more personal than the videos. The author really grabs you with his descriptions and brings you into the world of farmed
Randy Green
Loved it! Nathan included a powerful quote by Alice Walker: "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They are not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites, or women for men." Incredible stories of heroic men and women going undercover to document the our cruel, demented and sadistic nature of Corporate "Factory Farms." Nathan goes further and gives accounts of people developing vegan meat and cheese alternatives, labs creating cultured meats, he lists activis ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. One that I wish everyone would read. It is such a passionate book, and quite informative. Nathan has a huge heart for animals, and is dedicated to sharing his experiences and knowledge with anyone willing to have an open heart. I highly recommend this book. I was very glad to have won this through a Library Thing giveaway. A great win!
E.D.E. Bell
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Note: This is a review of an animal rights title with some heavy content. If you follow me for my fiction (thank you!), know that while I am passionate about my own beliefs, I respect that others see things differently. I hope you’ll continue to follow me—I appreciate your readership! Now, to the review. : )

If you don’t understand why people are vegan, what’s wrong with dairy or eggs, and/or you think of active animal rights protestors as going too far (I think this sometimes also), I urge you t
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book... despite it being a bit difficult to get through due to the horrific details that were shared about the farming industry. I appreciated the practical suggestions on ways to make changes.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Part memoir, part exposé on factory farming, and part call to action...if I weren't already vegan, this book would have converted me. It has, no doubt, bolstered my desire to make a bigger difference. Though reading the stories of needless violence and torture foisted on billions of living, feeling beings worldwide was difficult, it was a small discomfort compared to farm animals' reality. It's necessary to know and understand the volume of cruelty that comes with every animal product that the m ...more
Laura Eggen
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provides a very in-depth look at the horrors that so many animals endure on a daily basis. It's a tear-jerker, it's heart wrenching, but above all, it's inspirational. It moves you to make change and encourages you to make the change that can make the most difference: switch to a more plant-based diet.
Nathan Runkle also gives a new look to the undercover investigations his team of activists perform: the videos can only show you so much, but the written version of these investigations s
Amanda Brody
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is astounding. As a vegan I’ve watched documentaries, read articles, seen tons of videos but reading this book taught me so much more. From Nathan’s amazing journey to where MFA is now is captivating. Undercover investigators truly are the unsung heroes of the animal welfare movement. The gruesome details of the horrifying truth of factory farming is hard to swallow at times throughout this book but it just puts it into perspective how extreme animal agriculture is and what it takes to ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book about heroes.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A heavy but very important read.
Provides lots of information about the horrifying cruelty that farm animals are subjected to.
Claudia Turner
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was another inspiring book on animal activism and had some pretty graphic, difficult scenes of animal brutality in factory farms. The very last section of this book is about raising awareness and money and it isn’t my favorite part but I can see it’s an essential part as is this book. More people need to put down their burgers (and their judgments about plant-based burgers) and actually open their eyes to the abuse that’s allowing them to not only be so spoiled but also so blissfully unawar ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea that the person behind MFA is a couple months younger than me and started this well known organization when he was a mere teenager. What a difference someone can make in the world in a short timeframe! Anyway, this book not only covers Nathan's journey into animal rights activism, but also the world of undercover investigating at factory farms (what they found, what came of it, and the effects on investigators) and what a single person can do to help the plight of farm animals. The ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book combines a few different things. It begins with the recollections of Nathan Runkle about his life (so far), including his struggles growing up in rural Ohio and going on to found one of the leading animal rights organizations in the USA. The second section is a details history of Mercy for Animals, including many of the shocking findings of their undercover investigations into factory farms. Finally, he offers a hopeful vision of our path forward toward becoming a more compassionate so ...more
Erin Charpentier
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Obviously I don't eat meat, so this book was preaching to the choir. That said, I do feel that everyone should read it. It's so easy to overlook the absolute abhorrent abuse that goes on in CAFOs all over the country because it isn't in our faces. Yet, the abuse to animals, to sentient beings, is appalling. Even if you continue to eat meat, I do think it's important to know what your bacon goes through before it hits your plate and through MFAs years of undercover operations into corporate facto ...more
Tonya Plank
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From Witty Kitty's Cat Cafe and Book Bar:

Wow. I’ll be honest; this book is not easy for animal lovers to read. But it’s SO important, you simply must.

MERCY FOR ANIMALS is a memoir – partly of Nathan Runkle, the founder, and partly of the organization of the same name and the movement in farm animal protection that it fostered.

This is the first book I’ve read about factory farming. I’ve heard of the horrors of it, but this is the first time they were presented so clearly and so thoroughly to me.

Since going vegan in November 2013, Mercy for Animals has been an important part of my journey. I have volunteered with them on several occasions at events here in Toronto and their staff, volunteers, and campaigns are organized and professional; they are setting a new tone for what animal activism can be. I admire them as an organization immensely.

Though they work on advocating for animals in a variety of ways, they are largely known for their undercover investigations on commercial factory fa
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
I wanted to learn more about MFA and have been meaning to read this for a long time. I don’t think it’s an inherently bad book and it’s clear the author cares deeply about animals. I didn’t realize there would be so many graphic descriptions of what happens to animals which I didn’t enjoy reading about as I already knew all of this information and have read about/watched it many times before so it's often gratuitous to me at this point, but that's more of a personal thing. I more so wanted to le ...more

I've had this book on my Audible wishlist for a while but hadn't gotten around to it.  I'm glad I finally started to listen to it.  I was surprised when it opened with a story of a stealth rescue of chickens from Buckeye Egg Farm in Croton Ohio.  At the time of the story I was living in the area and driving past there a lot.  The place was hugely hated because of its affects on the people living around it.  There would be hoards of flies every summer.  The smell was awful and all the groundwate
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I went vegan for my health, as I had been battling an eating disorder for several years. When I went vegan, everything changed for me. It was like something clicked in my mind and body. I heard about this book after the author had been on The Chickpeeps Podcast. At the time I was definitely more focused on Veganism for health.

This book helped me make the connection to the animals and realize how sick and unethical factory agriculture is. I know that the world isn’t going to go vegan overnight,
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptionally well-thought out and well-written book. It could easily have been the author preaching and screeching about animal rights. Instead he begins with his upbringing and how he morphed into the activist he is. And it's not all about his life and what he's done. He writes about everyone he works with. I like that it isn't a 'Look at ME!' type of book. He wants the world to see what has happened factory-farm animals. The cruelty of the process, the workers, the need for the big ...more
Christine Wang
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has effectively reinforced my decision to be a monthly donor for MFA. What fantastic work they do, and how inspiring Mr. Runkle's story is! And to think he started advocating at such a young age. Most of us see and hear about evil, but don't want to do anything about it. This man did, and what a difference he's making.

I'm not a full-fledged vegan, and am what you would call a flexitarian. I eat 80% vegan/plant based and 20% animal products (mostly when I'm at family gatherings with mi
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mercy for Animals is a well written and insightful book. It's also kind of three books in one. It begins very personally and autobiographically with the author's story, especially how he came to found what would become one of the top animal rights organizations in the world at a very young age. The bulk of the book is comprised of various stories of animal rescue and the documentation of abuse on factory farms once Mercy for Animals was off the ground. Some of this section can be hard to read fo ...more
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book. Nathan Runkle is truly an impressive person. His commitment to changing the situation for farm animals at such a young age is an inspiration to all of us that we can make the world a better place. I was worried that this book would horrify me, that I could not get through it but it was not written that way. Yes, it does go into some very disturbing detail about the treatment of farm animals and my heart did break for them but it was the commitment of Nathan and the peo ...more
Rachel Saylor
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nathan Runkle is a compelling story teller and captivated my attention from the beginning. Not only does he pull on heart strings with visual descriptions, but he also is informative in the way he explains current laws state to state as well as federally as it pertains to farm animals welfare.

This book and hearing Nathan talk in person have truly changed the way I approach food and my understanding of the animal agriculture industry. It is easy to overlook what is really happening on the farms
Allen Patterson
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I disagree with the author on many things. I am still not a proponent of animal rights, I still eat meat, and I still hunt and fish. But, I would say there is no need or justification in being flat out mean to animals even those we plan on eating eventually. I agree with the proverb that says "The righteous regardeth the life of his beast (Proverbs 12:10)". I do believe man has a right to own animals, to use them for labor, and to eat them. But, he ought not abuse them or mistreat them unnecessa ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve known about the suffering of animals used for food for many years. I’ve seen pictures and read various articles, and I eliminated first meat and then dairy too from my diet. I thought I was prepared for this book, but I have to say that it can be hard to read. Interspersed with tidbits about Mercy For Animals founder Nathan you will read about the organization’s undercover investigations into factory farms. I won’t write about the details other than to say that they are gutwrenching, and I ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
There is still work to be done. Things are not sunshine and rainbows, and there are still animals yet to be saved. But the thing about progress is that it always moves forward, eventually. I dream of a day when factory farming is a thing of the past. And I believe the awakening of society will help us achieve this. I love the closing lines of this book, it is realist, yet optimistic. “Let us be the ones who bring about this next great ethical do so would yield as meaningful and joy ...more
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“When it comes to the desire for freedom, companionship and respect, all animals are alike. The different treatments and fates we impose on our fellow creatures aren't about them but about us.” 0 likes
“So while other teenagers were stuck in classrooms studying textbooks and taking notes during lectures, I was already out in the world, having dived head first into working for social change. I was learning complicated adult lessons in activism, campaign strategy, public relations, mass media, and corporate relations. And I was able to travel around the country, even if that sometimes meant seeing it through the eyeholes of an animal costume.” 0 likes
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