Mercy For Animals Turns 25! Here Are Some of Our Favorite Milestones

It all started with one teenager’s dream of building a better world for animals. Today, Mercy For Animals is an international organization with over 150 compassionate people working to create a world where all animals are respected, protected, and free.


At age 15, Milo Runkle started a local animal rights group in rural Ohio. Three words summed up its mission: Mercy For Animals. 


During our first 12 years, Mercy For Animals established additional U.S. chapters and conducted 21 undercover investigations that outraged consumers and sparked historic legal precedents to protect farmed animals. 


We released a shocking investigation that prompted a two-day raid at a Butterball chicken facility and led to the first-ever felony conviction for cruelty to factory-farmed chickens in U.S. history.


Just a year after expanding to Canada, Mercy For Animals persuaded Canada’s eight largest grocers to commit to phasing out gestation crates (cruel cages that severely confine pregnant pigs) from their supply chains.


We built a team in Mexico, reaching a vast Spanish-speaking audience. Since then, Mercy For Animals Latin America has promoted a more compassionate food system through investigations, policy work, outreach, and even a celebrated plant-based collaboration with Subway México. 


Our arrival in Brazil in 2015 has led to thousands of actions, 13 investigations, several major corporate animal welfare policy changes, and more than 35 million plant-based meals in Brazilian schools. And in India, Mercy For Animals began operations that would later inspire 15 state-level bans on extreme confinement of pregnant and mother pigs.


Just a year after Mercy For Animals began operations in India, we started urging the country’s most influential companies, including two of the largest retailers, to ban cages for hens in their egg supply chains. Today, several major companies are not only committed to reducing suffering for hens but making considerable progress toward their cage-free goals.


Leah Garcés became our new president and brought with her Transfarmation™—a program that supports farmers in transitioning from raising animals for food to growing crops. So far, The Transfarmation Project® has helped three farmers get out of industrial animal agriculture. By helping just these three farmers, we have reduced factory farming’s capacity to raise animals by 1.8 million chickens and 8,000 pigs annually. The program’s other enrolled farmers are in the process of transitioning their farms.


The New York Times broke the story of a Mercy For Animals investigation revealing the hidden cost of Costco’s rotisserie chicken. In connection with the investigation, Mercy For Animals launched a major campaign calling on Costco to do better.


Mercy For Animals persuaded a company to publish the first-ever shrimp welfare policy from a mainstream retailer, which could reduce suffering for 920 million shrimp each year once implemented. 

These are just a few of our accomplishments over the past 25 years. Mercy For Animals is on the front lines fighting to protect farmed animals. From factory farms to corporate boardrooms, courts of justice to courts of public opinion, Mercy For Animals is there to speak up against cruelty and shift the food industry toward kinder, more sustainable foods. But we can’t do it without caring people like you.

Support our work today with a one-time or recurring donation, or sign up to volunteer. Visit our action center for all the ways you can get involved.