On October 1, Mercy For Animals welcomed its first woman president, Leah Garcés. This longtime vegan animal rights activist, author, wife, and mother of three is ready to steer MFA in a new, exciting direction.
We recently sat down with Leah to learn more about our new president and her vision for the organization.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am half Colombian and half American and have lived in Spain, the U.S., and the U.K. For the past eight years, I served as the executive director of Compassion in World Farming USA, focusing primarily on improving the welfare of chickens raised for meat. For seven years before that, I worked at the World Society for the Protection of Animals. I oversaw a $17 million budget and a campaigns and programs team of 80 staff members in 14 countries. I am also on the advisory boards of Encompass and Seattle Food Tech. My husband and I are vegan and we are raising our three kids vegan. I went vegetarian when I was 15 and have been vegan for almost a decade.
What’s your vision for MFA?
I envision this organization becoming even stronger and more effective, a model for the whole movement, not just in terms of our strategic accomplishments but also in terms of the way we cherish and support our staff, the brilliant activists who dedicate their lives to this cause. It is my mission to see MFA reach its full potential.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
Over the next several months, I will be working diligently with staff to lay out an ambitious three-year strategy with clear, global, and measurable objectives. This will become our blueprint. It will be a public document—visible to all of you. It will be our promise to you and to the animals. Once we have the blueprint in place, we will continue to do what we have always done: make strides toward ending factory farming. With a solid plan in place, we’ll be able to report back on each exciting step of progress we make, each corporate victory, each investigation exposing cruelty, each institutional commitment to reducing animal products, and each of the effective ways we reach millions of people with our message.
What excites you about joining MFA?
One of the most exciting areas to me is the international work. Factory farming is growing rapidly around the world and I’m glad to see MFA at the forefront of stopping the growth of this cruel and unsustainable system. I’m also excited about the investigative work. It’s critical that we continue to bring the truth of how animals are treated in our food system into the public eye.
What’s your family’s favorite meal?
Butternut Squash Mac ’n’ Cheeze from Oh She Glows. It’s rich and delicious and my kids love it!
Do you live with any companion animals?
I have two cats, Honey and Sumo. They sleep with the kids every night.
Is there anything else you’d like MFA supporters to know?
I can’t wait to get to know you and thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.