Mercy For Animals




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2018):

Revenue: $10,825,327
Expenses: $11,670,927
Assets: $14,119,333



Milo Runkle (formerly Nathan Runkle)

Leah Garces

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Mercy for Animals (MFA) is an animal liberation group that seeks to abolish animal agriculture. In the short run, it advocates for policies that increase government regulations on livestock farming practices. MFA has faced criticism for creating misleading narratives in order to target and accuse farmers of abuse. 1 2  Founder Nathan Runkle has been arrested several times in association with protests while working for other animal liberation groups. 3


Mercy for Animals’ legal advocacy department challenges the practices of animal farms and advocating for laws restricting the sale of livestock products. 4  MFA hires activists it calls “investigators” to record video footage used for animal liberation advocacy. 5 6

Political Activity

California Egg Measures

In 2008 MFA supported the passage of Proposition 2 in California to increase the cost of production for California egg farmers, decreasing sales within the state. In 2013 an amendment to the federal Farm Bill was proposed to restore access to the market in California, although it failed. In 2016, several state attorneys general and Iowa’s governor sued then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D), along with the Humane Society. The suit failed, and California legislators have been seeking to further expand such regulations conceived by MFA. 7 8 9 In November 2018, California passed Proposition 12, with egg farm regulations proposed by MFA to take effect by 2022. 10

Humane Society of the United States

In 2010, MFA engaged in a joint campaign with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on a ballot initiative and supported a bill lobbied for by HSUS to increase federal regulations on the farming industry. 11

Buckeye Egg Farm

In 2001, Mercy for Animals staff entered a hen house owned by Buckeye egg farm and allegedly stole 34 hens. Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey made recommendations to prosecute the intruders, while the department also deemed their actions a “biosecurity hazard”. Buckeye egg farm declined to prosecute after coming to an agreement with Mercy for Animals to start “dialogue.” 12In 2004, however, MFA conducted another covert investigation on the same farm (now named Ohio Fresh Eggs). 13 14

Bettencourt Dairy Farm

In February 2014, the Idaho governor signed a law making it illegal to secretly film on agricultural farms after a complaint stemming from a secret video recorded by an MFA employee from 2012. Idaho Dairymen’s Association president Bob Naerebout claimed MFA unfairly tried to persuade customers of Bettencourt dairy farm to stop buying their products, even after the farm fired the guilty employees and cooperated with law enforcement on prosecution. 15

Dairy Farmers of America

In May 2015, MFA was accused of releasing “contrived” video footage of animal cruelty after covertly entering a farm of a Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) member. The DFA criticized MFA for using the footage to condemn the farm where the incident occurred instead of reporting the individuals involved to local law enforcement. 16


Former Mercy For Animals executive vice president Nick Cooney was accused of harassment, sexism, and bullying by two employees in 2015 and 2016. 17 Cooney, who denies the allegations,18 left Mercy for Animals in late 2017. Both critics19 and supporters20 of the animal liberation movement took note of the allegations, which emerged amid investigations into allegations against other prominent animal liberation activists, most prominently then-Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle. 21 Cooney had been previously convicted of offenses in 2006 related to demonstrations against a pharmaceutical company. 22

Funding and Contributions

February 2016, Open Philanthropy Project donated $1,000,000 to MFA for advocating for government regulations on farmers, specifically related to so called “cage-free” standards. 23 Other major contributors to MFA include Silicon Valley Community Foundation, RSF Social Finance, and the Tides Foundation. 24

MFA made a $500,000 grant to Global Animal Partnership. 25


  1. Quan, Douglas. “Mercy for Animals: Activists making a difference – or radicals distorting the truth?” National Post. June 20, 2017. Accessed September 2, 2019.
  2. Mercy for Animals Profile. Animal Agriculture Alliance.  Accessed September 2, 2019.
  3. ”Mercy for Animals.” Activist Facts. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  4. Tann, Sarah. “[Customer Spotlight]: A Look into Mercy for Animal’s Fight for Animal Rights.” Zenefits. May 2, 2017. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  5. Drew, James. “Mercy for Animals Claims Hen house tapes point to cruelty.” Second News. March 2, 2003. Accessed September 3, 2019.,244550
  6. “Interview with Lindsay Wolf of Mercy for Animals.” Get It Vegan. January 7, 2017. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  7. Greenwald, Glenn & Woodhouse, Leighton. “Consumers are Revolting against Animal Cruelty – so the Poultry Industry is Lobbying for Laws to Force Stores to Sell their Eggs.” The Intercept. March 2, 2018. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  8. McKinley, Jesse. “A California Ballot Measure Offers Rights for Farm Animals.” The New York Times. October 23, 2008. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  9. McGreevy, Patrick. “Live in California and buy eggs? If voters approve this in 2018, they’ll need to be from cage-free hens.” LA Times. August 29, 2017. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  10. Gecker, Jocelyn. “California Makes Cage-Free Hens a State Law.” U.S. News. November 7, 2018. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  11. ”Mercy for Animals.” Activist Facts. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  12. Drew, James. “Mercy for Animals Claims hen house tapes point to cruelty.” Second News. March 2, 2005. Accessed September 3, 2019.,244550
  14. Runkle, Nathan. “250,000 Hens Die as Fire Rages at Ohio’s Largest Egg Farm.” Mercy for Animals. March 25, 2010. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  15. Associated Press. “Coalition sues Idaho over ‘ag gag’ law.” The Spokesman Review. March 18, 2014. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  16. Astley, Mark. “Mercy for Animals undercover animal cruelty video ‘contrived’: DFA.” June 30, 2015. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  17. Gunther, Marc. “At Mercy for Animals, No Mercy for Women.” Nonprofit Chronicles. February 9, 2018. Archived from the original June 2, 2020.
  18. Gunther, Marc. “At Mercy for Animals, No Mercy for Women.” Nonprofit Chronicles. February 9, 2018. Archived from the original June 2, 2020.
  19. Berman, Richard. “Hounds before Humans.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, July 1, 2019.
  20. “Silence Is What’s Actually Hurting Animals.” The Thinking Vegan. Accessed September 27, 2019.
  21. Berman, Richard. “Hounds before Humans.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, July 1, 2019.
  22. “Nick Cooney.” Activist Facts. Accessed September 27, 2019.
  23. “Mercy for Animals – Corporate Cage-Free Campaigns.” Open Philanthropy Project. February 12, 2016. Accessed September 3, 2019.
  24. Data compiled by subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted September 27, 2019.
  25. Harrison, Nathan. “The Actual Number is Almost Surely Higher.” Medium. December 9, 2016. Accessed September 3, 2019.              7
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2004

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $10,825,327 $11,670,927 $14,119,333 $413,543 N $10,289,325 $0 $314,993 $404,367 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $11,329,052 $10,350,461 $15,550,890 $251,690 N $11,232,804 $0 $159,939 $110,922 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $11,185,086 $6,543,401 $12,551,654 $111,990 N $11,088,892 $0 $27,624 $71,468 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $6,591,912 $4,171,800 $7,816,313 $92,037 N $6,489,972 $0 $17,433 $63,333 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $4,986,012 $2,544,288 $5,313,113 $8,949 N $4,942,200 $0 $10,137 $55,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,946,836 $2,096,220 $2,864,318 $1,878 N $2,929,906 $0 $13,665 $46,350 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $2,440,585 $1,629,180 $2,017,763 $5,939 N $2,318,281 $0 $9,806 $54,946 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,675,148 $1,369,283 $1,219,838 $19,419 N $1,682,987 $0 $6,210 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Mercy For Animals

    W HOLLYWOOD, CA 90046-5108