Did you know that 9 billion farmed animals are killed for food each year? And that 300 million unwanted male chicks are killed by the U.S. egg industry each year?
The stats are astounding – and it’s what prompted Mercy For Animals (MFA) to form. Based out of Los Angeles, the nonprofit is fighting to stop animal cruelty numbers from growing. Their mission? To prevent cruelty to farmed animals while promoting compassionate food choices and policies.
It’s a simple statement, but the fight is anything but simple.
There are zero federal laws protecting farmed animals, and the same animal cruelty laws used to protect dogs and cats specifically exclude farmed animals.
As such, MFA has taken it upon themselves to defend farmed animals. One way they’re doing this is with their legal advocacy department, which is focused on securing legal convictions for farmed animals, while advocating for laws on their behalf.
Oftentimes, their fight is against large corporations, and while it can scare some people into backing down, MFA will always accept the challenge.
“What I love about Mercy For Animals is that we are fiercely fearless,” says VP of Operations, Jake Morton. ”We tackle headfirst multi-billion dollar industries and governments to hold them accountable for their treatment of farmed animals and to reduce the most amount of animal suffering through our investigative, legal, and corporate outreach work.”
But it’s not just corporations and governments that need to change. MFA realizes that their mission must start from within – with their own employees – which is why they’ve built their mission into the way they work, strategize, and make decisions.
“MFA takes a utilitarian approach to our work,” explains Morton. “We think about the number of animals affected, the duration of suffering, degree of suffering, and viable alternatives. We teach our employees right out of the gate during orientation that each of us has the unique privilege to guide our work with the question ‘Will this reduce the most animal suffering?’”
It’s this devotion that has led to MFA’s success and footprint in the fight for animal rights.
Thanks to their amazing work in bringing awareness to animal cruelty, Mercy for Animals has made a huge impact across the globe.
Check out their accomplishments, by the numbers:
These numbers are certainly impressive, but MFA is nowhere near done. They’re continuing to grow their organization, while also getting their mission across to billions of people.
“Through our 7.1 million global Facebook followers, our message of a more compassionate world for farmed animals had over 3.8 billion impressions in 2016,” says Morton. “That’s a lot of compassion and a lot of positive change.”
Today, MFA is a well-oiled global organization that is ready to tackle any problem in the name of animal advocacy. That wasn’t always the case, however. And like many businesses and organizations that are first starting out, MFA has its fair share of struggles.
“All fast-growing international organizations have one thing in common: It’s messy!” says Morton, who explains that MFA just had their biggest employee orientation, with 16 people in 4 countries, spanning 6 time zones. “I’ve run orientations for 50+ people all in one location who share the same cultural and language knowledge, but this was just on such a different level of complexity.”
As such, it’s been important for Morton and his team to have a strong network, including their local chamber of commerce, as well as larger animal rights organizations such as the Human Society of the United States (HSUS).
“We’re all very connected, we talk strategy, share best practices, and help connect each other with resources that help advance our organizations,” shares Morton.
As a nonprofit, Morton explains that getting funding – and being smart about the way they use their funding – is critical.
Currently, “nearly 76 cents of every dollar spent by Mercy For Animals goes directly to programs that save animals,” notes their website. “The remainder is used to grow MFA’s size and capacity so we can help even more animals in the future.”
As MFA continues to grow, they’ve leaned on partners, like Zenefits, to help keep operating costs low.
“As a long-time customer of Zenefits, we have been able to reduce administrative staff time and put more resources into our programmatic work,” shares Morton. “We were able to delay hiring a full-time HR coordinator for over a year. That savings was put to use immediately into our programs allowing us to spare the lives of more than 1 million animals thanks to Zenefits.”
MFA was able to reach 70 employees before they had to hire a HR administrator. They noted Zenefits’ quick onboarding, efficient benefits open enrollment, integrations to popular business solutions, and data management, as vital to their operations.
“The documents app is a dream,” shares Morton. “For our legal department to visually see who has sent in what, is peace of mind for them. We want to make sure that our T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. For the type of work we’re doing, we need to ensure confidentiality agreements and all other critical paperwork is in place before an employee’s first day. The documents app allows us to make that happen.”
Do you have a business or mission that you’re passionate about? If so, consider these parting words from Morton:
“My biggest piece of advice for other small businesses and nonprofits is to reach for the stars, stay humble, be flexible, and always seek improvement,” says Morton. “Business is fluid so be adaptive to change and listen to your employees. Cut out as much unnecessary work as possible, source great technology to help you focus on your mission whether it’s saving animals or getting to market the next great veggie burger!”