Compassionate Action for Animals

  1. Nathan Runkle is the founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals. Raised on a farm in rural Ohio, Nathan has long had a deep connection with farmed animals. After a local farmed animal abuse case involving a piglet slammed headfirst into a concrete floor during an agriculture project at a nearby high school, Nathan founded Mercy For Animals to give “food” animals a much-needed advocate in his local community.

    Since founding Mercy For Animals over a decade ago, Nathan has overseen the organization’s growth into a leading national force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotion of compassionate food choices and policies.

    A nationally recognized speaker on animal advocacy, factory farming, and veganism, Nathan has presented at colleges, conferences, and many other forums from coast to coast.

    Through his work with MFA, Nathan has been an outspoken advocate for animal rights, featured in hundreds of newspaper, television, and radio interviews, including on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, 20/20, CNN, and National Public Radio, and in USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

    Nathan works closely with MFA’s diverse group of members, supporters, and employees to oversee, develop, and fulfill objectives within the organization’s four areas of focus: education, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and undercover investigations.

    Nathan has worked alongside elected officials, corporate executives, heads of international organizations, professors, farmers, celebrities, and film producers to pass landmark farmed animal protection legislation, raise public awareness about vegetarianism, and implement animal welfare policy changes.

    VegNews magazine has recognized both Mercy For Animals and Nathan for making substantial contributions to the vegetarian movement, naming Nathan one of the “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians” and one of the country’s “Top 20 Activists Under 30 Years Old,” and twice naming MFA “Non-Profit of the Year.” In 2009, at the age of 25, Nathan became the youngest person ever inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame.

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  2. Are you ready to change the world but looking for ways to increase your impact? Come to this workshop to talk about building a volunteer base that can help in winning campaigns. We’ll move step by step through the process of developing volunteer leadership teams including volunteer recruitment, leadership roles & structure, setting goals, ongoing engagement, and winning!

    Jessica Tritsch is Senior Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Campaign. Jessica joined the Sierra Club in November 2009 as a Regional Representative with the Beyond Coal Campaign in Minnesota. Jessica brings a background in grassroots organizing and environmental advocacy, having previously worked for the state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS) as a campus organizer and organizing director. Most recently, Jessica served as the program director for Reading to Kids – a community-based children’s literacy volunteer network that partners with underserved elementary schools in Los Angeles. Jessica attended the University of Wisconsin where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological aspects of conservation and music performance.

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  3. Research from the fields of psychology, communication studies, and persuasion studies can teach us a lot about what will and won’t work for inspiring people to change their diet. In this presentation we’ll cover some of the key “dos” and “dont’s” of effective vegetarian advocacy.

    Nick Cooney is the founder of The Humane League and is Compassionate Communities Manager for Farm Sanctuary. He is also the author of Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change. Nick’s work for animals has been covered by Time magazine, CNN, National Public Radio, and hundreds of other media outlets. He blogs for Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign at:

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  4. As activists, integrity is everything! When leafleting, speaking with a group, working with students, or even eating out with friends, it’s important to be able to speak knowledgeably about the basics of vegan nutrition when questions arise. Make sure you have the right answers!

    Providing factual, reliable, up-to-date information makes you a more credible advocate and a more effective change agent. In this session we will do some “myth busting”, clear up common misconceptions, and look at what the research really says about plant-based eating.

    Suzy Sorensen RD, LD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator specializing in plant-based nutrition. She owns Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling serving long-term vegetarians and vegans, as well as those simply interested in moving toward a healthier eating style.

    After 30+ years of standard American diet, a scuba trip for lobster hunting introduced Suzy to the fantastic lives of underwater creatures.

    This up close and personal view of the rich lives of animals began her journey to vegetarianism and, eventually, veganism. As she became active in the Twin Cities veg community, Suzy recognized a need for accurate vegetarian & vegan nutrition information. Move2Veg is an opportunity to support those who want to meet their nutritional needs through plant-based eating.

    Suzy also serves at the MN State Coordinator for the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group promoting health and well-being based on the latest nutritional research.

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  5. Speaker – Michelle Rosier

    Wangari Maathai, founder of the Greenbelt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, tells a moving story about a hummingbird who against seemingly insurmountable odds tries to put out a forest fire while all the other animals watch. That sort of motivation and persistence is necessary to make long-term positive change, but so is thinking about how to be effective and build a more powerful alliance to help you achieve that change. In this session, we’ll talk about all the elements of an effective campaign from setting goals and determining targets to power maps and timelines.

    Michelle is a Senior Campaign and Organizing Manager at the Sierra Club. Michelle has over a decade’s worth of experience running successful, people-powered campaigns for positive social change. Whether it is working with students on school bus idling or 60+ group coalitions for clean energy and jobs, Michelle has honed her skills in helping people set goals and design effective campaigns to achieve them. In addition, she helped establish the Sierra Club’s Minnesota environmental justice program to address disproportionate environmental burdens on communities of color and low-income communities. Michelle has a Master’s in Public Policy degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She also keeps a blog on vegan food at Accidentally Meatless.

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Compassionate Action for Animals

Loren Stark

Compassionate Action for Animals

Most of us would like to think that the meat, milk, and eggs we buy come from animals who have lived happy, healthy lives. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Like cats and dogs, the animals we eat…

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Compassionate Action for Animals

Most of us would like to think that the meat, milk, and eggs we buy come from animals who have lived happy, healthy lives. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Like cats and dogs, the animals we eat have complex emotions including the ability to suffer. Yet on modern farms, they are treated with such disregard that similar treatment to a cat or dog would be grounds for felony cruelty charges in Minnesota.

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