Q – Tell us about yourself and how you became interested in animal issues.
A – My journey has been a strange one—pull up a chair! I grew up in rural Ohio, not far from where Milo Runkle, founder of Mercy For Animals, is from. I spent my free time hunting, fishing, and fur trapping. I worked in a taxidermy shop from the sixth grade all the way through high school. I also grew up on my friends’ farms bailing hay and doing farmwork with the hogs and the cattle. However, I loved animals. I had horses, goats, dogs, cats, and all kinds of animals from flying squirrels to foxes, skunks, opossums, snakes, turtles, and lizards. I even raised honeybees. I never connected the animals that I was killing while hunting and farming to the companion animals I cared for. I had a black-belt-level of dissonance. This all changed in my late 20s when I went vegetarian solely for health reasons. It was then, once I stopped thinking of animals as food, that I started to have an awakening that all animals deserve compassion. It became clear that the horrible things that I had been doing while hunting, fishing, and trapping—as well as the grossly inhumane things that I was involved in and witnessed on the farms—were not only not necessary, but just not right.