Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy For Animals…Plus, Joan Jett!

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Nathan Runkle—founder and president of Mercy For Animals—recounts the horrific incident (a fellow high school student that Runkle said slammed a baby piglet on a concrete floor during class) that prompted him to create the organization in 1999. 8396918He discusses Mercy For Animals’ early years and early achievements, as well as the evolution of the organization and what’s become their four-pronged mission. Regarding the Education facet, in response to a question about how Mercy For Animals folks seek to dissolve the cognitive dissonance of people who would passionate declaim they’re huge animal lovers—between bites of 6a0112796f38d028a4017616cb5254970c-800witheir cheeseburger—Runkle describes the organization’s “Why Love One But Eat The Other” campaign. But, really, undercover video investigations constitute the lifeblood of the Mercy For Animals operation, and Runkle addresses a select few and the significant–occasionally world-wide–impact they generated, affecting such corporate behemoths at Nestle and Costco. As part of that discussion, he speaks to the growing challenges of placing a Mercy For Animal investigator inside a factory farming enterprise, and the mercyforanimalsphilosophical tenets shaping the release of video footage from those investigations—how long a clip, how graphic the footage, and so on. Runkle talks about the so-called “Ag-Gag” laws, and the sort of chilling effect they can have on such investigations. (www.mercyforanimals.org)

16600354-mmmainALSO: I spoke briefly with Joan Jett, the rocker and lifelong animal advocate who, with her band, The Blackhearts, about Joan_Jett_headerher opening for The Who April 15 in Tampa–first date on “The Who Hits 50” North American tour; Jett opens all shows. We also discussed Jett being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 18, her longstanding love of animals and advocacy on their behalf, and other topics, including Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (www.joanjett.com)

COMEDY CORNER: Myq Kaplan’s “Meat and Robots”  (http://myqkaplan.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Lake Street Dive’s “Rabid Animals,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We did not play Name That Animal Tune today

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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