Senior Investigations and Research Associate
Kate Ziegler serves as senior investigations and research associate for Mercy For Animals. Kate works closely with the director of investigations, reviewing and analyzing evidence documented by MFA’s undercover investigators. She assists MFA’s legal team to determine potential violations of law, and conducts extensive research into agribusiness practices and animal welfare standards.
Kate monitors meat, dairy, and egg industry publications, as well as advancements in the farmed animal advocacy movement. She helps MFA track the impact of factory farming on animal health and behavior, the environment, and food safety, and how these issues relate to MFA’s mission to promote compassionate food choices and policies.
With Kate’s help, MFA’s investigations have led to landmark cruelty prosecutions, historic corporate policy changes, and increased consumer awareness of the plight of farmed animals. For instance, after MFA uncovered horrific abuse and neglect at Ontario Livestock Sales, law enforcement officials charged the owner and seven employees with a total of 21 counts of cruelty to animals. Following MFA’s investigation at Christensen Farms, several of the nation’s leading grocery retailers, including Safeway, Kmart, and Costco, announced plans to phase out gestation crates from their pork supply chains. And after MFA’s investigation at Bettencourt Dairies — a dairy supplier to Kraft Foods, Burger King, and other major fast-food chains — CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Miami Herald, and hundreds of other television, print, and online media outlets covered the case, reaching millions of people with the message of compassion.
A native of a racially and economically diverse neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, Kate’s parents, siblings, and extended family taught her to be a socially conscious and compassionate individual. After learning about industrialized farming practices from a family friend, Kate began considering the suffering endured by farmed animals and making kinder food choices.
Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, Kate majored in religious studies and minored in Latino studies. Kate’s honors thesis centered on Christian animal theologies, examining ways of compassionately considering non-human animals within the faith. During her college years, Kate also volunteered in a bilingual preschool classroom, walked dogs at the St. Paul Humane Society, built houses with Habitat for Humanity, and played varsity softball. While studying abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico, Kate worked as a veterinary technician and organized a citywide antirabies vaccination campaign.
After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Kate volunteered as an administrative assistant in an inner-city high school, worked as a university research assistant, and served as a third-grade, dual-language educator. She also interned with a national animal protection organization’s faith outreach program in Washington, D.C., whereby she inspired religious leaders to endorse animal-friendly legislation, helped provide free veterinary services to low-income individuals, and assisted in the organization of events to end dog fighting.