Arden is a volunteer member of the board of directors for Mercy For Animals Canada. Arden has been vegan since 2010 and has quickly become passionate about alleviating the plight of animals and informing consumers about the impacts of their consumption decisions.
Arden holds an Honours B.A. in economics and political science from Brown University, and a J.D. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, where he was awarded the Nancy Park Book Prize in Women's Rights in International Law. Arden's professional experience includes stints in investment banking as well as in sales. He currently practices law at a commercial litigation firm in downtown Toronto. Arden hopes his professional background will help him provide useful strategic direction and advice to Mercy For Animals Canada.
An accomplished athlete, Arden was a member of the varsity rowing team at Brown University and in his fourth year achieved Academic All-Ivy honours for combined excellence in academics and athletics. He has also trained and competed with the Canadian national team, winning a silver medal at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships in 2004.
Arden coaches young athletes at a local rowing club and has volunteered with a Toronto-based charity on its board of directors as well as on its nominating and governance committee. In addition, in 2010 Arden completed a food security internship in Thailand and Laos supervised by the Muhammad Yunus Centre at the Asian Institute of Technology. Arden is very excited to be involved with Mercy For Animals Canada because the strategies it employs have been demonstrated to be incredibly effective.
Kimberly is a founding volunteer board member for Mercy For Animals Canada. Growing up in farm country – specifically the "Wheat City" of Brandon, Manitoba – Kimberly’s love for animals led her to become vegetarian in 1996 and eventually a vegan and avid animal protection advocate in the field of farmed animals.
As a television host, producer, and personal development coach, Kimberly's animal protection/veg advocacy specialties range from media affairs to hosting and moderating events to teaching activist empowerment/self-care. She was the campaign co-creator, co-coordinator, and spokesperson for the "Why love one but eat the other?" ad series on the Toronto subway system in 2009 and 2011/12 that created an international pro-veg ripple. She has also been the spokesperson/MC for the Toronto Veggie Pride Parade since its inauguration in 2009, a spokesperson for IFAW’s campaign to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, and on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Animal Rights Society. Through her various animal advocacy initiatives, Kimberly has appeared on CTV News, CP-24, CBC News, Global News, Talk TV, Metro Morning, Newstalk 1010, and Animal Voices, as well as in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post, The Sun, and various international publications. As an activist, Kimberly is also passionate about human rights, politics, and environmental issues and often lends her hosting talents to these causes as well.
Professionally, Kimberly has appeared on screens and stages across the world – from Africa to the U.S. to France. As a broadcaster, she has done shows on W Network, WE TV, CBC Television and Radio, and CTV to name a few and has a degree in broadcasting from Ryerson University. As a coach, she has helped hundreds of people live a more conscious and ignited life.
She's thrilled to be a part of Mercy For Animals Canada and looks forward to helping to cultivate more compassion and action for farmed animals in this country.
Director of Investigations
Twyla holds a B.A. with a double major in Anthropology and Psychology and spent two years studying Forensic Anthropology at the Masters level learning to speak for victims of violent crime who could no longer speak for themselves. After receiving a photo of a tied up, suffering pig at a local collecting station, Twyla went on to conduct an investigation where she learned of the shocking, systemic and routine cruelty inflicted on farm animals. Her work as a farm animal cruelty investigator has been the focus of numerous documentaries including No Country for Animals (Global National), Bêtes à bord (CBC Radio-Canada), and No Country for Horses (CBC National).
Investigations conducted or overseen by Twyla have led to the closure of facilities, animal cruelty charges and convictions, corporate animal welfare policy reforms, government-commissioned research, rescues of abused and neglected farmed animals, and opening the hearts and minds of Canadians to the power of their food choices.
In her role with Mercy for Animals Canada, Twyla works closely with undercover investigators to obtain video footage and other evidence of animal abuse at factory farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses. She also works with attorneys, veterinarians and animal welfare experts to review covert footage and draft criminal complaints, and then with local, provincial and federal law enforcement agencies to secure animal cruelty convictions against individuals and facilities that abuse animals.
Twyla has rescued and been fortunate to share her life with numerous farm animals, including Wilbur, the pig she rescued off the highway after a trailer accident, Marlene and Natalie, unsold chicks about to be stomped at a livestock auction, and Sophie and Katie, two injured and traumatized turkeys who escaped the catchers hired to load them for slaughter.
Camille Labchuk is a Toronto-based animal advocate, political strategist, and student-
A native of Prince Edward Island, Camille holds an honours degree in Psychology
from Mount Allison University and a law degree from the University of Toronto.
Sensitive to animal suffering for as long as she can remember, Camille was raised
in a politically active household where she was encouraged to question the status
quo. She was inspired to become vegetarian as a 12-year old after watching a
documentary about needless animal suffering at the hands of animal use industries,
and she adopted a vegan lifestyle in her early 20s after learning more about the
cruelty inherently caused by the meat, dairy, and egg industries.
After completing her first degree, Camille ran for Parliament in the 2006 federal
election, and she went on to serve as press secretary to Green Party leader Elizabeth
May in Ottawa. Following her time in politics, Camille worked as a public relations
specialist for an international animal protection organization.
In 2009, Camille decided to dedicate her career to animal protection issues by
studying law. Having recently earned her law degree, she currently works as an
articling student at a criminal defence firm, where she is fortunate enough to be able
to do pro bono work on behalf of animals. Camille has a particular interest in using
the legal and political systems to achieve animal protection goals. She intends to
practice animal rights law, harnessing the power of the legal system to protect animals’
interests – particularly the voiceless victims of industrialized factory farms.
Camille’s animal advocacy work includes having documented the commercial seal
kill on the ice floes of Canada’s East Coast for three years, and working in issues as
diverse as factory farming, horse slaughter, puppy mills, trophy hunting, captive
marine mammals, circuses, and shark finning.
In addition to Camille’s work on animal issues, she is committed to environmental
protection and a fair, just society. Her passion for a sustainable, more equal
world has led her to work on countless election campaigns at the federal, provincial,
and municipal levels. She is also a former board member of the National Capital
Vegetarian Association, past president of the University of Toronto Student
Animal Legal Defense Fund club, and a former member of the federal Green Party’s
governing council. Camille writes a weekly political column for The Hill Times
newspaper, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post Canada.
When not working to help animals, Camille enjoys sailing, reading, cycling,
digging in her organic vegetable garden, and cooking delicious vegan meals.
Director of Operations
Stephane is the Director of Operations for Mercy for Animals Canada, responsible for financial management, budgeting, human resources, media relations, volunteer coordination, outreach campaigns as well as government and industry relations.
After completing a Master’s Degree in Management with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Europe’s leading business school, HEC Paris, he started his career in investment banking in Paris then moved on to the United Kingdom, where he spend almost a decade working for various international financial institutions, ultimately being responsible for large corporate accounts and high net worth clients across Eastern Europe, Russia and the Benelux countries. In 1998, he and his family decided to immigrate to Canada and he settled down in Montreal where he became a partner in the largest integrated film studios in North America and in a leading edge digital special effects company, working on various television and documentary projects. A few years later, following the sale of the company to local partners, he became intrigued about the potential of the Canadian wine industry and subsequently moved to the Niagara region where he purchased some farm land and started a vineyard. From the beginning, the vision was to promote sustainable and organic growing practices, with an unrelenting focus on quality and respect for the environment. As the years passed and the vines slowly matured, the vineyard was purchased by a local winery and Stephane moved to Toronto where he joined the private aviation sector, working primarily on operational and organizational matters.
As a young child growing up in France, Stephane has always had a keen interest in animal welfare, attending numerous conferences particularly on laboratory animal welfare and vivisection. But it was not until later in life that he realized the profoundly disturbing social, moral and ethical implications of factory farming and decided to become more engaged. He has attended many animal rights conferences and is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Animals and Public Policy at the Humane Society University where he has written various papers on animal behavior and consciousness as well as policy papers on animal welfare legislation. He firmly believes that farmed animal protection will be one of the defining social movements of the 21st century.
In addition to his passion for farmed animal protection, he also loves flying (he is a fully licenced commercial pilot) and has recently started competing in triathlons. One of his goals is to use these races as a platform to showcase the performance benefits of a fully vegan diet. He resides in the Toronto area with his wife, children and rescue rabbits.
Director of Legal Advocacy
Anna was a founding board member of Mercy For Animals Canada and helped to establish the governance and strategic planning of the organization. She currently serves as the director of legal advocacy, pushing for both the enforcement and the enactment of laws on behalf of farmed animals.
Anna is a lawyer admitted to practice law in Ontario. She obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto, where she won the class prize in Women’s Rights in International Law and the Helton Fellowship from the American Society for International Law. She articled at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto as a judicial law clerk. Anna also holds an undergraduate degree in psychology with first class honours from the University of British Columbia, where she won numerous scholarships and awards.
Anna has long been motivated to act on behalf of individuals whose suffering goes unnoticed. She has represented refugees at Downtown Legal Services, where she also led volunteers through their casework and served as a board member. As a rape crisis counsellor, she supported and advocated for sexual assault survivors. She has also worked in poverty reduction and agricultural management, examining farming practices through the Wetlands Alliance Program in NE Thailand and Laos.
Anna now focuses the majority of her efforts on advocating on behalf of animals because their suffering is profound, widespread, and largely socially accepted. She has been active with established and grassroots animal protection organizations as well as with her own campaigns, serving on the frontlines, in organizational governance, and as a researcher and writer. She continues to volunteer with the Toronto Vegetarian Association, the We Animals project, and Americans For Medical Advancement, and to provide legal information to local animal rights activists.
Anna shares her home and heart with her four rescue cats and her wonderful vegan husband.
Nathan Runkle is a founding volunteer board member of Mercy For Animals Canada and the founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals. Raised on a farm in rural Ohio, Nathan has long had a deep connection with farmed animals and agriculture. After a local farmed animal abuse case, involving a piglet slammed head first into a concrete floor during an agriculture project at a nearby high school, Nathan founded Mercy For Animals to give "food" animals a much needed advocate in his local community.
Since founding Mercy For Animals a decade ago, Nathan has overseen the organization's growth into a leading national force for the respectful and compassionate treatment of farmed animals. A grassroots organizer and coordinator for many years, Nathan has spearheaded hundreds of demonstrations and outreach events across the U.S. - ranging from protests outside pork and egg producer conventions to parade marches, educational exhibits, and more.
An internationally recognized speaker on animal advocacy, grassroots activism, and factory farming, Nathan has spoken at a wide range of colleges, forums, and conferences.
Through his work with MFA, Nathan has been an outspoken advocate for animal rights, appearing in hundreds of newspaper, television, and radio interviews, including National Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, and The Chicago Tribune.
Nathan works closely with MFA's diverse group of members, supporters, and employees to oversee, develop, and implement the organization's campaigns, publications, advertisements, and undercover investigations.
During the formative years of MFA, Nathan conducted numerous investigations and rescue operations at factory farms, livestock auctions, and rodeo events. Nathan led teams of MFA investigators into Ohio's four largest egg factory farms, exposing egregious animal cruelty and neglect, as well as directly rescuing dozens of animals in dire need of veterinary care. Nathan spearheaded the organization's efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and find homes for over 500 hens rescued from a battery-cage facility dilapidated by a tornado.
Nathan has spoken with and worked alongside elected officials, corporate executives, heads of international organizations, professors, farmers, celebrities, and film producers to pass landmark farmed animal protection legislation, raise public awareness about vegetarianism, and implement animal welfare policy changes.
Overseeing MFA's hard-hitting pro-vegetarian MTV commercials, highway billboards, and bus campaigns in Chicago, New York, and Boston, Nathan has helped the organization open the hearts and minds of American consumers to the hidden cost of factory-farmed meat, dairy, and eggs. Through Mercy For Animals Canada he now looks forward to doing the same for Canadians.
VegNews magazine has recognized both Mercy For Animals and Nathan for making substantial contributions to the vegetarian movement, naming MFA "Non-Profit of the Year" and Nathan one of the "25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians" and one of the country's "Top 20 Activists Under 30 Years Old." In 2009, at the age of 25, Nathan became the youngest person ever inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame.
Director of Information Technology
Johnathan Skinner is director of information technology for Mercy For Animals Canada, building and maintaining the websites that serve as windows into veganism and the plight of farmed animals for thousands of people every day.
Raised in Calgary, Alberta, right in the middle of cattle country, Johnathan's upbringing was far from veg-friendly. It wasn't until his twenties that he met his first vegetarian. This chance encounter became a life changing event and he quickly transformed from a cowboy-hat-wielding Calgary Stampede attendee into an animal rights advocate protesting outside the gates.
At the turn of the millennium, Johnathan moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, to start afresh with his new vegan lifestyle. He has spent most of the years since as a volunteer advocate for animal rights, organizing outreach and vegan social events, and interning with various organizations around the world, including Mercy For Animals in Chicago. He is currently the sole coordinator of Veg Fest Vancouver—an all-vegan summer street festival hosted right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
Johnathan started his professional career as a video game programmer. Only a year out of high school, he landed a job creating a game for Nintendo. Since then he’s also worked on titles published by Microsoft, Sierra, Capcom, EA, and his own independent company, Veggie Games. Johnathan’s entrepreneurial drive gave rise to Steer Madness, a popular animal rights computer game of his own design, construction, and publication. More recently, he expanded into website and app development, finding himself designing and programming software systems for the world’s largest dating website, PlentyofFish.
Possessing the right combination of programming, design, database, and IT skills, along with his passion to make the world a better place for animals, Johnathan has settled very happily into his role at MFA Canada.
Event and Outreach Coordinator
Lucas joins the MFA Canada team as the national event and outreach coordinator. Raised in Montreal, Lucas knew at a young age that the plight of animals was his cause and that he would do everything in his power to make the world a kinder place for all sentient beings. Since 1999, Lucas has turned his beliefs into hard work and action for animals.
Lucas has organized and participated in events in over 20 cities worldwide and has been mentioned in local, national and international media. He has worked professionally with celebrities, film directors, members of the media, politicians, businesses and international non-profit organizations. His dedication to animal protection has gotten attention from the global community. In 2011, Lucas toured North America on a college outreach campaign that encouraged students to sign petitions in support of Meatless Mondays and increase vegan options on campus – over 70,000 students signed on and many schools changed their policies!
While completing his bachelor of arts degree in sociology at Montreal’s Concordia University, Lucas was president of the Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA) and achieved many victories for animals. For several years he has been voted “Loudest Activist” in the Montreal Mirror newspaper’s Best of Montreal poll. In 2009, Lucas was nominated for PETA’s sexiest vegetarian competition. He was awarded in 2008 for PETA’s Matthew Eyton Animal Advocate Award, as well as the “Most Dedicated Executive” award from the Concordia Student Union for his work with CARA. For his contribution to sustainability and community involvement, Lucas was honoured with the 2007 Concordia University Eco-Sense award. As a councillor with the Concordia Student Union, he passed the Ethical Choice Policy which requires that a minimum of one vegan option and one third of all food options must be vegetarian at all university events. This policy passed unanimously.
Lucas currently lives in Toronto and is a passionate advocate for animal protection, delicious plant-based cuisine and sustainable living. In addition to his work in animal advocacy, Lucas is a body-care specialist at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto. He has knowledge of over 5,000 cruelty-free products. Lucas’ love for vegan cooking can often be seen in The National Post’s “Gastropost” section, where he is a frequent contributor.