By Matt Rice
Mercy For Animals is dedicated to equality and protecting those vulnerable to abuse. These values are at the core of our mission and apply to everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, or species.
We support the long-overdue and much-needed discussion now taking place in our society regarding sexism and harassment in the workplace—something that, sadly, invades all corners of our world, including the animal rights movement.
Our hearts go out to all the brave victims who have told their stories. We stand with you, and we thank you for everything you are doing to make our community safer. Your courage and strength inspire us.
Our employees, volunteers, and donors are the heart and soul of MFA. As we move forward together, we will fiercely protect any member of our MFA family subjected to misconduct, and we have put in place a stronger-than-ever anti-harassment and discrimination policy that reinforces this.
No workplace is immune to unconscious bias, stereotyping, and other subtle forms of discrimination. We recognize that these require deliberate efforts to dismantle. That’s why we will take additional steps to extensively train all our staff on recognizing unconscious biases and promoting workplace civility, harassment prevention, and diversity and inclusion. We want to fully equip MFA managers to support their staff and play an active role in addressing and preventing discrimination and harassment.
We must dispel the harmful, inaccurate notion that speaking up about sexual harassment could harm animals—far from it. Creating a sustainable, effective movement requires bold action and open conversation on this issue. Silencing those who would speak up about harassment not only makes us less effective but violates the very principles we stand for as a movement working to address interconnected forms of oppression.
Although many barriers can prevent those affected by harassment or discrimination from speaking up, we want to eliminate these barriers wherever we can. We will spend more time examining our workplace culture through quarterly staff surveys, and we have established a culture committee, made up of MFA staff across teams and management levels, to help us continually improve.
Prevention is ultimately the only way to guarantee a safe workplace. We will soon hold training for all our staff on additional steps and resources for preventing harassment and bullying and promoting actions that create an inclusive, safe working environment.
Ongoing learning and improvement are central to MFA, and we acknowledge that we can do more to proactively address these issues. At this critical turning point, we are dedicated to listening, reflecting, and striving to do better. And we are committed to becoming the movement’s leaders on this issue.
We encourage anyone who has thoughts or suggestions or would like to discuss these issues to reach out to me at MattR@MercyForAnimals.org. We will take your suggestions to heart as we work to become a more just and inclusive organization.