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Mercy For Animals Announces Paid Internship Program. Here’s Why.

For many years, Mercy For Animals has relied on the bright enthusiasm of interns to elevate our programs to new heights. Until recently, many of our internships have been unpaid. But in 2021, Mercy For Animals will hire 11 paid interns in the United States to strengthen our organization and advance our mission!

We’ve recognized it’s time to retire our unpaid internship program and develop a more equitable and inclusive paid program. Removing barriers and creating pathways for marginalized communities help cultivate a stronger, more unified, and more effective movement. These are crucial building blocks of meaningful and enduring change.

After joining Mercy For Animals in 2019 as U.S. talent acquisition manager, I found myself elated to be immersed in the incredible work Mercy For Animals was doing. One of the first questions I asked myself was, What more can we do?

An answer became increasingly apparent once I had the opportunity to talk with so many candidates who were, like me, looking for more out of their lives, who were searching for a way to align a career with a passion for animal protection. But for many, joining this cause as an unpaid intern is not an option, and I saw that structuring our internship program this way denied some of the brightest, most talented people the chance to step into the movement and put their passion into action.   

So this past quarter, we sought to deconstruct our outdated, inequitable unpaid internship program. The time of expecting anyone to be privileged enough to be able to work for free was over, as was the notion of offering internships only to those privileged enough to have postsecondary education.

If we want diversity, to have more people at the table with different perspectives; fresh, innovative, and creative ideas; and the ability to reach new audiences while challenging our own perspectives, we need a much bigger table. And if we want equity, we need to consider who has been denied access to this table in the first place. Whether it offers taller chairs, shorter chairs, or no chairs at all, we need to put our dreams and ideas into actions that are palpable and measurable.

For the animal protection movement to grow and be holistically effective, we need to create a place that is expansive, open, inclusive, and full of opportunity. This way, we can join with those affected by our work and move toward a world with no factory farming, no animal cruelty, and no suffering.

That is why Mercy For Animals is hiring 11 paid interns in the United States this year! We will expand our table, offering opportunities to gain effective advocacy skills for a future at Mercy For Animals or another organization. We will know, during their time with Mercy For Animals, we taught them the skills they need to help “elevate humanity to its fullest potential”—the core of our mission. This initiative demonstrates effective progress in the animal protection movement, not only for animals but for a brighter future and more inclusive society.

We understand, of course, that adopting a paid internship program is just one component of our broader efforts to make our talent recruitment processes––and our organization and movement––more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just. Earlier this year, we began including voluntary demographic survey questions on our applications to gather data on the communities we reach with our recruitment efforts and to identify areas for improvement. Click here to read more about our DEIJ initiatives.

We implore all animal advocacy and social justice organizations to examine their internship programs and other policies. And we hope this long-overdue initiative serves as a model for increasing kindness, inclusivity, and collaboration.

Are you interested in applying for a paid internship or full-time position at Mercy For Animals? Click here to see available opportunities, and don’t forget to check back as positions are added!