Gay Animal Rights Activist Attacked

Press Release

Gay Leader of National Animal Rights Organization Brutally Attacked in Apparent Hate-Motivated Crime

Police Investigating Felonious Assault Case

Victim Hopes Attack will Lead to Inclusion of Gays in Ohio Hate Crime Law

Dayton, OH – Nathan Runkle, the 24-year old openly gay founder and Executive Director of the national animal advocacy organization, Mercy For Animals, was brutally assaulted on Saturday morning in an apparent hate crime. Runkle is a nationally recognized leader in the animal protection movement, who was recently named one of the world’s “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians” by VegNews Magazine. The assault, which occurred at Masque, a gay night club in Dayton, Ohio, was completely unprovoked.

The attacker, believed to be a heterosexual white male with no previous relationship to the victim, has not yet been identified or apprehended. Runkle was briefly hospitalized after sustaining two facial fractures, a broken nose, deviated septum, and severe facial bruising. The incident has been labeled a felonious assault and is currently under investigation by the Dayton Police Department. Runkle believes the assault was motivated by hatred toward gays and was intended to send a fearful message to the local gay community.

Sexual orientation-motivated crimes are currently not addressed under Ohio hate crimes laws. The laws address only crimes motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin. Gay rights advocates have long urged state legislators to follow the lead of 31 other states who have already enacted specific legislation protecting gays from hate-based violence.

Runkle is the founder of Mercy For Animals (MFA), a national organization with over 25,000 members. The organization focuses on protecting farmed animals from cruelty through undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses and through public education and advertisement campaigns. Earlier this year MFA made national headlines after releasing shocking undercover investigation footage of hens at a California egg farm crammed into filthy cages suffering numerous cruelties and neglect. The investigation resulted in grocery giant,Trader Joe’s, dropping the cruel farm as a supplier. MFA’s most recent investigation at California’s largest egg farm helped pass California’s historic Proposition 2 in November, which requires that by 2015 farm animals in the state be given enough room to stand up, lie down, and spread their limbs.

MFA has long worked to bridge the gap between the common prejudices which lead to oppression and abuses faced by both animals and minorities. In recent years MFA has joined gay advocates in gay pride marches by forming human rainbows preceded by banners declaring, “No one is free when others are oppressed.” The organization has also been a lead opponent of gay rodeo events, citing the community’s obligation to protect animals from needless violence.

Contact: Dan Foley – 614-519-1729

For more information on Mercy For Animals visit, www.MercyForAnimals.org

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29 Responses to “Gay Animal Rights Activist Attacked”

  1. Violence Hits Home | SuperWeed Says:

    […] until I was sure Nathan wanted the attack to be publicized. Now that Mercy for Animals has put out a press release about the incident, I guess it’s safe to speak of […]

  2. Eric Says:

    This is just terrible, on so many levels. I am heartsick for Nathan.

  3. doug g. Says:

    my best wishes go out to nathan. he is truly an inspiration.

  4. Unprovoked violent attack on gay animal rights activist, Nathan Runkle « Invisible Voices Says:

    […] the press release that pattrice linked in: Dayton, OH – Nathan Runkle, the 24-year old openly gay founder and Executive Director of the […]

  5. boomerjack Says:

    Best wishes to Nathan for a speedy recovery. My wish for the Neanderthal(s) who committed this crime is best left unsaid.

  6. Animal Rescue Alliance Says:

    This is the very reason i prefer working with animals. Human beings are cruel, sick beings on this earth! We as a human race must end hatered among eachother! really who are the animals on this planet?

  7. Activist Nathan Runkle Attacked in Hate Crime « Striking at the Roots Says:

    […] Rather than post a long blog, I refer readers to today’s wonderful post by fellow activist pattrice jones, who puts into words what I am unable to articulate right now. You can also read MFA’s press release here. […]

  8. Chris Says:

    Here’s to a speedy recovery. I don’t know Nathan, but as a vegan and a queer, my heart goes out to him.

  9. telyawot Says:

    jesus made me do it.

  10. Nathan Runkle, Attacked : Elaine Vigneault Says:

    […] News from the AR world: “Nathan Runkle, the 24-year old openly gay founder and Executive Director of the national animal advocacy organization, Mercy For Animals, was brutally assaulted on Saturday morning in an apparent hate crime. […] MFA has long worked to bridge the gap between the common prejudices which lead to oppression and abuses faced by both animals and minorities. In recent years MFA has joined gay advocates in gay pride marches by forming human rainbows preceded by banners declaring, ‘No one is free when others are oppressed.’ The organization has also been a lead opponent of gay rodeo events, citing the community’s obligation to protect animals from needless violence.” read more here >> […]

  11. Gay Animal Rights Activist Attacked Says:

    […] Press release source: Queering Animal Liberation […]

  12. Mercy Now | Goatless Says:

    […] the press release issued by MFA: Nathan Runkle, the 24-year old openly gay founder and Executive Director of the national animal […]

  13. Violence Hits Home, part 2 | SuperWeed Says:

    […] the sense of stunned incomprehension that has overtaken many animal rights activists in the wake of the violent assault on our gentle comrade, Nathan Runkle. The fact that the assault was perpetrated not as a consequence of his activism but […]

  14. Animal Rights Activist Brutally Beaten in Ohio for Being Gay | jaysays.com Says:

    […] Queer Animals blog regarding the attack. […]

  15. lewnon Says:

    As a heterosexual myself I can say that this type of treatment
    to anyone is a disgrace.

  16. gill gillono Says:

    I heard about this today and it made me nauseous. I wish Nathan well and I thank him for all his service and compassion. We must continue to use love to overcome hatred & fear. Peace & well wishes, Gill

  17. pattricejones Says:

    I will make sure that Nathan sees the expressions of care that people have posted on this blog and on Superweed. On Superweed, I have posted a couple of entries concerning what we can do about this and how we can manage our feelings about it, just in case my thoughts might be useful to the community as we struggle with this attack on our dear comrade.

  18. Gay Animal Rights Activist Attacked in Ohio « Vegans of Color Says:

    […] press release states Nathan’s wish that sexual orientation be included in Ohio’s hate crimes […]

  19. Bea Elliott Says:

    Totally unacceptable… I wish Nathan a speedy recovery, and I hope this incidence only fuels his determination to lead his life the way he chooses.

  20. Kathie Says:

    Nathan – my best wishes for a speedy recovery, and proper justice!
    As someone leading a vegan and heterosexual lifestyle, I find this attack on Nathan abhorrent. This once again shows the connection between our violence to the other sentient beings of this earth and the violence towards the human animal – for whatever reason – this one obviously related to his sexual preference – but, I would also say the attacker possibly knew about Nathan’s work to free the other animal species from human torture. I agree with another commenter – this attacker is a Neanderthal or worse! Here is a quote that AAVS provided to me that definitely applies to this situation: “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” Thomas Edison
    And a couple more:
    “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not created for humans any more than black people were created for whites or women for men.” Alice Walker
    “The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of inhumanity.” George Bernard Shaw (our fellow creatures should include ALL human animals, also)

  21. Max Pearson Says:

    I hope Nathan recovers soon. I notice that his attack has been mentioned in some blogs – but I wasn’t able to find anything about it by doing a Google News search. I’d like to write about this on my website, if I can get more information.

  22. Dean Says:

    This crime is utterly despicable. I am so very saddened for Nathan and those close to him, and wish him a speedy recovery. And I hope that the perpetrator is discovered and brought to justice.

    With the passage of anti-gay legislation in various states on November 4, most notably in California (Proposition 8, which amended the constitution to take rights away from gays and lesbians), anti-gay hate crimes have also been on the rise. It is vital, therefore, that the LGBTQ community, along with their straight allies, organize to counteract this tide. We must be visible, we must be unified, and we must mobilize as many people as possible to get out there and fight for our rights. Not doing or saying anything is unacceptable. Elie Wiesel, noted Holocaust survivor, said it best:

    “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

  23. msalabama Says:

    Dear gentle Nathan . . . . thank you for careing for the innocents. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope the monster who harmed you is caught and prosecuted to the fullest.

  24. Jo Alex SG Says:

    No words can convey my feelings of horror and despise for the creature who ´s hurt you in this cowardly and despicable way.Unfortunately,the attacks on us gays of all sorts will go on around the world,as long as lack of (true) punishment also keeps prevailing.The country I was born and live in(can´t say it´s my country,actually)is known inpunity.However,I was disappointed when up there in the US, Matthew Sheppard´s parents allowed their dear son´s killer to escape death penalty for the sake of compassion,cause, by doing so,they actually(though unwillingly,of course)left the way open for more of these hartred attacks,cause monsters such as these do not feel remorse, nor guilty,since they think we are to be loathed, and killed…
    Subliminarly, most of societies still blame us gays for what we are(other ones,such as muslim societies in their thick majority, actually kill us openly)and deep inside most people do not feel really the same about a murder if the victim is gay,no matter how harsh this may sound and overstated (I have noticed this here in Brazil ever since I was born and I´ll be 49 in Feb, so it´s not a brief period of observation).I have often even heard common people say they´d rather have a criminal son/daughter than a gay one…despite the ridiculous assertions of some gay organizations here that prejudice gainst gays is in decline here.

    I will try to send you the best healing vibes I can manage to but please do take care: you are precious for us vegs(let alone to us gay vegs) and both as a human being and a most valuable worker for the cause,your life is a treasure, so keep it safe enough!
    Yours, Jo Alex( Jorge Alexandre de Sousa Gomes)

  25. Jo Alex SG Says:

    Sorry for the mispellings and mistypings:impunity,hatred,etc.

  26. pdxvx Says:

    Nathan,

    What sad news. All pain is impermanent, unlike the advocacy you do for animals which echoes eternally. Get well, Animal Rights needs you since they are still under attack and you were targeted because of your notoriety and effective organizing. The experience makes you a living connection between the like suffering of minorities and that endured by the majority of domesticated beings. Health, strength & my best wishes are yours.

    Thank You
    Oneness Bless You

  27. Intimidation and hate is the province of cowards « Burroughs Adding Machine Says:

    […] out of a gay nightclub on Saturday. From the Mercy for Animals (the nonprofit Runkle founded) press release: Runkle was briefly hospitalized after sustaining two facial fractures, a broken nose, deviated […]

  28. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » “NO ONE IS FREE WHILE OTHERS ARE OPPRESSED” Says:

    […] MFA’s press release: Dayton, OH – Nathan Runkle, the 24-year old openly gay founder and Executive Director of the […]

  29. Sara Says:

    The community supports Nathan 100%

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