On that day in high school, Nathan and the rest of the class witnessed one
student picking up a baby piglet and violently slamming her headfirst into
the ground in an attempt to kill her. She was to be the subject of a
But the little pig didn't die. Bleeding from the mouth and her skull
severely fractured, she was rescued by a compassionate student and taken to a veterinarian's office to be euthanized. Was that compassionate student
Nathan? I personally believe so, but he does not identify the rescuer in this
I wondered how the rest of the class felt about this. I believe Nathan
lived in a farming community. Had the majority of these children of farmers become immune to witnessing animal suffering? I hope not, but upon reading about this cruelty, I wished that it had been videotaped and then sent to all the
high school class rooms over the entire USA. I believe it would change those
students with a compassionate heart to probably alter their meat-centered diet
Even though animal cruelty charges were leveled against the student and
teacher involved with this incident and there was a public outcry --the
judge dismissed the case. It was then that Nathan learned that slamming baby
piglets headfirst into the ground is considered standard and acceptable practice
by the pork industry. And not surprisingly, there were no laws to protect
animals from this type of abuse.
I remember a few years back at being floored when a pig farmer and his
sons who hung sick pigs as a form of euthanasia as well as tossing sick piglets around like footballs got off almost scot free in this Ohio court. Even
though the prosecutor won his case, the uncaring judge's punishment was a fine
of paltry fine of $100. I believe it was then that I realized that there are
judges of all stripes --sadly among them those lacking in compassion for animal
life These would probably not be the rare exceptions either.
MERCY FOR ANIMALS BECOMES A REALITY
The incident witnessing what happened to that little piglet was motivation
enough for Nathan Runkle to start Mercy for Animals a short time later.
During the ensuing 15 years- MFA has scored some impressive victories -some of
them major and historic.
One of the hard-earned victories occurred in 2013 with the MFA
investigation of a Tyson Foods' pig factory where they uncovered widespread and sadistic animal abuse. Because of their efforts, Tyson Foods, the world's
second-largest meat producer, agreed to adopt new animal welfare guidelines. Among them was a prohibition against
slamming baby piglets headfirst into the
What joy Nathan and the other members of MFA must have felt with this
historic agreement. And of course -for Nathan a special happiness that he could now
tell himself that the little pig in an Ohio classroom did not die in vain.
Now I hope that MFA will join the other animal welfare groups to get rid of
the cruel, confining gestation crates which literally imprison mother pigs.
They have no room at all to even turn around. May those of us who can help support this well-deserved organization do so.
They and the others who work for animal welfare cannot exist without