I am an undercover investigator for U.S.-based farmed animal non-profit Animal Outlook. We’ve conducted investigations into meat, dairy and egg facilities. Most recently, we conducted the first-ever undercover expose of salmon farming in the U.S. at Cooke Aquaculture, where fish were stomped on and thrown, in addition to many other cruel standard practices. We also documented horrific abuse at a dairy factory farm that supplied Nestle.

As undercover investigators, we often live in rural areas without much contact with anyone outside of work, if any at all, for months at a time. I've investigated three factory farms, so I’m pretty familiar with isolation, and I’d like to give some advice to anyone adhering to the current stay at home order. We’re all in this together! If you’re struggling with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic or curious about my life undercover, ask me anything!

Proof

Edit: I'm going to take a short break for now, but I'll be answering more questions periodically as they come in so feel free to ask away!

Edit2: Thanks so much for all your questions, and thanks to the mods for letting this take place! Stay safe, everyone.

Comments: 106 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

scottosaurus21 karma

Did you have a tough time looking at some of the cruelty you saw during undercover investigations? What specific act hit you the hardest?

AO_Undercover24 karma

That's a great question. I have looked over some of my investigations and had the memories come flooding back. I mostly remember the reactions the animals had to any cruelty or standard practices like how the calves react to having hot irons pressed against their skulls during disbudding/dehorning. In some cases, they would even grind their teeth to brace themselves against the pain... sometimes I can still hear that sound if I think about it hard enough. I think that hit me the hardest and to this day, I still cry when I think about it.

Yenna155715 karma

Did you find that people working on the farms were mistreating the animals due to standard farming practices or was it mainly out of a malicious nature?

AO_Undercover21 karma

That's a really great question. A lot of standard farming practices are pretty cruel in nature. Take disbudding/dehorning. Young calves have their skulls burned with hot irons to remove their horns and on one of the dairies we investigated, they performed this procedure without anesthesia, so the calves felt every ounce of the pain and the role of the farm worker there involved administering that pain, essentially. There was no malicious intent there, the farm worker was doing that job and it is standard practice to disbud or dehorn the calves, but the calves suffer in the process.

When much of standard practice on farms dictate that animals must suffer through the processes, the farm workers can become desensitized to causing animals pain, since it happens pretty often through standard practices, anyway. This could make acts of cruelty seem like not much of a big deal to them. I think this was best summarized by the supervisor at the hatchery owned by Cooke Aquaculture, where we conducted our investigation into fish farming. He can be seen in the investigation video, talking about how the fish there were killed by suffocating them, saying, "It's rough. Over the years, you kinda get desensitized."

beccaishiding13 karma

What can actually be done to stop this abuse? I already dont eat meat and am working on cutting out all animal products. But the bulk of people I come across know its happening and dont care about it at all. I just really dont see it changing in our lifetime and that really bothers me. So what can we actually do to help?

AO_Undercover17 karma

Thank you for asking this very important question and for putting in the effort to cut all animal products out of your diet. The animals thank you for the journey you're taking for them! It's pretty common to be vegan and come across people who won't budge on their stance, even if you talk to them about everything until you're blue in the face.

I think the important thing is to be mindful of how you're reaching out to people about this issue. Be careful not to talk At Them but Talk To Them. There's a difference between the two. For someone who has practiced a behavior their entire lives and been influenced to take pride in the behavior, that it's a fact of life, etc....it can be really hard to suddenly change their way of thinking. For our entire lives, we have been told that farming is humane and tranquil, right down to the nursery rhymes we learned in school (Old Macdonald had a farm...). It's a process. I would say you should try to have more discussions and put yourself in their shoes. I didn't become a vegetarian until I was in my early 20's. People learn things at different paces. Change never happens overnight, but if you keep hope alive and keep trying your best to reach people, it can happen.

You're already doing a lot to help by working to adopt a plant-based diet. The next thing I would suggest aside from having those discussions is inviting people to watch undercover videos. You can find a lot of them on our website! They show the unvarnished reality of factory farming. Documentaries are also really good and I would be careful to ease people into it, as some people process graphic imagery differently. You could start out with Cowspiracy or Eating Animals before moving onto Earthlings or Dominion.

Lastly, the next thing you could do if you feel like you want to do more is donate to help keep our cameras rolling so that people can continue seeing more investigations exposing conditions on factory farms. Our investigations are donor funded and so important for awareness. We are working hard every single day to make every dollar count for the animals. Anything helps!

beccaishiding4 karma

Thank you so much for your reply. Its definitely difficult because I find majority of people are willfully ignorant. My own family has the ideal that, if they dont see it then its not happening. Which is the hardest to change I find. I often dont bother telling people I am veggie or even tell them why because I immediately get attacked which is disheartening. But what I always say to them is, I wouldn't have a problem with these industries if animals were treated with respect and handled humanly. But I fear humans have lost their way in that respect, and fear even more that we will not find our way back. But the idea that one person can make a change is also tough to believe when you realize how much power these large industries have over us and our governments.

AO_Undercover7 karma

Yes, sadly the proverb, "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" applies when it comes to animal agriculture and how people understand it. It's easier to turn a blind eye than confront the facts, especially when they're as horrific as what the animals go through to produce the product people are consuming.

People take comfort in their own morality and sense of justice. When that is shaken or questioned, people can react defensively. No one wants to think of themselves as a bad person. But I tell people who are attacking or sarcastic that they are not a terrible person because they have believed something their entire lives and are just now realizing the truth. Even if it does take them some time to change their diet or come around to a plant-based lifestyle, that doesn't make them a monster. And I never judge anyone, as everyone has their own path to follow and some people can take time to adjust.

We also have to take responsibility for our actions, though. And if someone is made aware of the horrors of factory farming and still decide to purchase animal products, then they must recognize that they are supporting the industry and what the industry is doing to those animals. In the end, I will never forget that we as people are incredibly capable of remarkable transformations and changing for the better. We have so much potential and we have the power to affect change for animals every time we sit down for a meal. And I ask that you never lose hope that people can change. I did :)

beccaishiding2 karma

That is a beautiful response, thank you. Animals are my passion and one day I would love to work in some sort of sanctuary setting. For now, I am working in the mental health industry and I love that as well. So I hope I am able to do both one day.

Thank you for all that you do!

AO_Undercover3 karma

Thank you as well! As someone who works in a field that is emotionally and mentally taxing, I know how important mental health is. You're doing a lot for our society and I commend you for that.

gingerbeard30311 karma

If you’re undercover, it is wise to show your face in the photo here?

AO_Undercover25 karma

It would not be wise at all, haha. That's why the president of Animal Outlook, Erica Meier, kindly offered to provide proof for me so I can maintain my anonymity. Thanks!

lookingrightone10 karma

[question] have you ever filmed cruelty towards animal via hidden camera? If yes whats the issue you faced? Are you allowed to post those video online ? If yes which website?

AO_Undercover19 karma

Thanks for asking these questions! Yes, at every factory farm that I have investigated, I did document cruelty being committed against the animals. In the investigative field, there are issues that every investigator faces with possibly having their cover blown, which could result in the immediate end of an investigation and the end of their career. That was a paranoia of mine that I had for a while. Being found out and not being able to do it anymore. I think it's so important that investigations do take place to expose animals suffering from cruelty and standard practices on factory farms.

Investigations I've conducted are definitely available online, as they should be! Farm conditions should be easily accessible to consumers. You can find them on ( https://animaloutlook.org/investigations/)

lookingrightone0 karma

What kind and size of camera you used to filmed? How and where did you hide the camera ?

AO_Undercover17 karma

Unfortunately I can't comment on any of that for safety reasons.

DogwoodSally10 karma

Hello! Do you see any solutions for what could be done to change things with abuse? Is it that people aren’t invested anymore because it’s big companies instead of their own name on things? I’m not sure exactly what to ask here. But I guess I feel like someone in your position would have a better idea of what potentially could help change things.

AO_Undercover24 karma

Thank you for that question, it's one that has been on my mind for a long time. I think the best thing that could be done is letting people see what is actually going on. People who have watched undercover footage from factory farms usually all have a visceral reaction to the content because it is shocking to them. In some cases, people have no idea that animals are being abused on farms because they have been shown this idyllic image of a happy farm where animals are free to roam and have "one bad day" when they're slaughtered, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

I think that if people can see just where their food comes from and how cruel the process can actually be, they'll be empowered to be more conscious of their decision making when going to the grocery store or they might even pursue those changes themselves! We are all more influential than we give ourselves credit for.

cypeo8 karma

Is the average animal farm anything like those horrific PETA videos? How common are they really?

AO_Undercover18 karma

Thanks for asking that. As I've answered before to a previous question similar to your own, cruelty and suffering on farms is more common than one might think. I've been to farms where some forms of cruelty eventually revealed themselves, whether it was 1 day into it, or a month in. At times I've been surprised when I didn't immediately see it, and I held out hope that there would be workers who treated the animals with kindness or decency. But I've had that hope be proven wrong time and time again. Suffering and factory farming go hand in hand when it comes to what the animals go through.

When animal agriculture industries view animals as products and not living beings, of course the people who are employed by them will believe the same. And when you view a living being as an object placed on this earth for your benefit, you are more inclined to treat them without compassion. There are multiple levels of influence when it comes to this horrible ideology, and it starts at the top.

GooseMcGee6 karma

Since you have first hand experience working with slaughterhouses, how to you feel about your "co-workers" that are abusing and killing the animals?

I recently read about a group, Food Empowerment Project, that has taken a somewhat controversial stance of vegans needing to show compassion to slaughterhouse workers. I read it on medium here: https://medium.com/@foodempowermentproject/vegans-need-to-show-some-compassion-for-slaughterhouse-workers-who-might-have-covid-19-6fa955a7081

Edit: To clarify, I'm just wondering since you have the experience what your thoughts are on this. Many of the comments I saw online toward them (F.E.P.) online when it was posted was that they were bought by animal ag, that they support animal abuse and that the workers deserve to die.

AO_Undercover20 karma

That's a really good question. As I've mentioned in a previous reply to a question earlier, I empathize with factory farm workers. Most of them are immigrants or people who live in low income communities who are just working to feed their families. The large corporations who employ them should be held accountable, as the workers are not the ones forcing these animals to live in cruel confinement, they aren't the ones insisting that cows be milked twice a day and calves be taken away from their mothers, the industry dictates that these standard practices take place to provide the product they profit from.

As someone who is Hispanic and the descendant of immigrants, I understand what it's like to have no other options for employment and taking whatever you can get. I've seen many of my family members do the same, taking whatever job they could get. That's how many of these workers came to be in the positions that they're in. They also are forced to work long hours for little pay and work in filthy, dangerous environments that are breeding grounds for illness and disease. Factory farming is cruel and inhumane at every level. The animals and humans in those conditions are suffering in different ways, but at the end of it all, they're all suffering. And if we want real change to happen, we need to be campaigning against large corporations like Nestle and Tyson, not attacking the workers these companies take advantage of.

vegancandle8 karma

Hey, great answer. Thank you for being empathetic and understanding and thanks for the amazing and courageous work that you are doing. I hope that one day we live in a world where all animals are given the freedom, love and respect they deserve.

AO_Undercover4 karma

Thanks! We share that same hope, my friend.

DigiMagic5 karma

I suppose you mostly deal with abusive facilities; but overall, are most farms like that, or most do adhere to some better standards?

AO_Undercover20 karma

Thanks for asking that. Every time I've ever been on a farm, I've actually hoped that I wouldn't find any cruelty. It would be nice to investigate a farm one day and find no abuse, to see no animals in pain. Unfortunately, that's not the reality of factory farming. At every farm site I've been to, some forms of cruelty revealed themselves, whether it was 1 day into it, or a month in. At times I've been surprised when I didn't immediately see it, and I held out hope that there would be workers who treated the animals with kindness or decency. But I've had that hope be proven wrong time and time again. Suffering and factory farming go hand in hand when it comes to what the animals go through.

In grocery stores, there are food products that state that the animals were "humanely raised" or that they adhere to some better standards, but the act of farming involves doing things that are inherently inhumane, such as disbudding calves to stop their horns from growing, throwing fish into empty buckets without water so that they slowly suffocate to death, keeping chickens in dark sheds their entire lives, these are all standard practices. This is the sobering reality that comes with consuming animal products.

Amrothnimrodel5 karma

Is this an actual career? How did you get into the field?

AO_Undercover10 karma

It is an actual career and a very rewarding one at that! My journey to getting into the field is a long and interesting one, but to put it short: I was in a very dark place in my life before I became an undercover investigator. I was working a retail sales job that I hated but kept at to financially support my family members. I was miserable because I had always wanted to do something to help change things for the better but I just didn't know exactly what I could do.

When I was younger, I had seen a lot of documentaries featuring undercover footage from factory farms and one night when I was driving home from work, it just clicked. I realized I couldn't work a regular 9-5 anymore and I had a lot to offer to the position of undercover investigator instead. I had a very unfortunate upbringing where I suffered a lot of trauma, so I learned how to process seeing horrific things and I moved around a lot and was exposed to all kinds of environments so I would be able to deal with the travel and adapt to my surroundings. After assessing all my strengths, it was just a matter of applying.

I've always wanted to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves, because I was in that position so many times growing up. I'm proud to say I can do that now, and so thankful for having the chance to do it.

(I guess that wasn't really a short answer, haha)

Amrothnimrodel3 karma

Thank you for sharing. It's interesting that you went through abuse. I went through alot too. I hope you're do better but bit sounds as if you are. I can identify with moving around. I moved every year until I was around fifteen and have moved more since. Getting acclimated is super easy and quick for me. I think a job where you're standing up for those who can't would be super awesome.

AO_Undercover3 karma

I'm sorry you went through that. It's hard to cope with something that is essentially an unfair experience but I hope you're doing well. I can totally identify with the unstable living conditions that come with moving around a lot but when you get to be in so many different environments, you adapt to new surroundings and people easier.

When anyone has an awful background, it can be easy to want to distance yourself from it when you're older, but I've learned to accept it because I can't change that it happened and it did make me stronger and more capable of withstanding anything. I've found that taking that approach takes the power out of your past and transfers it to you. I hope you find strength in your suffering, too.

plskillme6664 karma

Do you have any advice for informing others that this cruelty is actually happening? I live in Indiana and when the fair oaks farms abuse videos were leaked last spring, it was all everyone was talking about. A coworker of mine is convinced all the abuse was staged and fake.

Also, what happens when you find the abuse at these farms? Are they reported? Fined? Forced to shut down?

AO_Undercover3 karma

I just realized I didn't answer your first question here, hah. Sorry about that! I think the best way of informing others of cruelty on factory farms is having conversations with them, talking with them and understanding where they're coming from while also letting them know the facts in a civilized way. Another good idea is inviting them to watch documentaries, like Cowspiracy or Eating Animals. Earthlings and Dominion are both very very intense ones that may require mental preparation before viewing but they show what life is like for animals being exploited in farming and other industries as well in a very raw, compelling way. Lastly, I would suggest inviting them to watch any of our investigations at https://animaloutlook.org/investigations/. They show the clear, uncut reality of factory farming.

AO_Undercover3 karma

I remember when that investigation came out and there was so much attention surrounding it. Whenever anyone says that the abuse is staged or faked, I find it kind of funny because all the workers on the farms are legitimate workers, so there's no way that an investigator can stage footage of workers abusing animals...

At the end of the investigations, our legal team presents all the footage to local law enforcement and then a slow, arduous process begins. Animal cruelty cases are never really considered as important so they're placed on the backburner, so to speak. More often than not, these cases don't see charges because of how the general public views animals on factory farms as products instead of living beings. I would like to see these investigations taken more seriously, but most of the time the facilities get fined, which is a drop in the bucket for the large corporations that own them, or they implement a new "training program" and they continue operating.

What can change this process is consumers and advocates voicing their own outrage and contacting their local officials, standing with our campaigns and letting their voices be heard by speaking up for the animals who have no say in the matter.

4_the_animals3 karma

What did you do to stay busy while you were isolated? Did you pick up any new hobbies?

AO_Undercover8 karma

Honestly, it's always really hard to stay busy for extended periods of time when you have no one to talk to. I won't say that it's easy. There are many days when I find myself feeling really anxious and even pacing because I feel trapped. But eventually, you get used to it over time and you find outlets. There are so many workouts that can be done indoors to stay active and when that got boring I liked dancing around without shame to my favorite songs while no one was watching, haha. It was good exercise.

I do also draw a little, so it's nice to have the time to practice that craft.

Nemo1ner3 karma

Have you ever had to apply for a job at a farm in order to document their practices?

AO_Undercover6 karma

Thanks for the question! The primary goal of an undercover investigator is applying for different jobs in the factory farming industry to document just what is going on behind those closed doors and expose those conditions to the public. That said, I have done that throughout my career. It's pretty shocking what happens to animals in these places when everything is hidden from the public eye.

lookingrightone3 karma

[question] when you visit the farms what you tell them where from you are ?

AO_Undercover6 karma

When I'm working on a farm site, I keep any personal information as private as possible for safety reasons. While I'm there, I'm just one of the workers and I carry myself as such.

lookingrightone2 karma

I got you that you are worker in farm. You are worker for how many farms ?

AO_Undercover5 karma

I've worked on 3 so far!

lookingrightone2 karma

[question] never get caught from your work colleague?

AO_Undercover2 karma

Thankfully, I didn't!

BernieDurden3 karma

Are you interested in doing undercover work in relation to animal protection outside of the food industry? Such as fur farming, rodeos, etc?

AO_Undercover7 karma

Thanks for asking! Fur farming and rodeos are definitely cruel and I commend animal protection groups who actively work to expose the suffering in those industries. I think what is important to take a look at, especially now, is live/wet markets. They are still in the food industry, but I consider live markets to be a more condensed version of factory farming as there may be fewer animals, but they are subjected to conditions just as cruel and inhumane. Animals in live markets are stacked on top of each other in filthy cages which opens the door to many diseases and illnesses growing in those conditions, like COVID-19.

A lot of these live markets are here in the U.S. in states like California, which is currently a hot spot for the coronavirus. I think it's imperative to take a look into these markets as they could reveal a lot about this current pandemic and past ones like the swine flu, which originated on pig farms.

BernieDurden2 karma

Thank you for the response and all the work you're doing to foster positive changes. ❤

One more question if you have the time...you're saying there are live/wet markets operating in the US that are part of the food sector? What type of animals are being sold and are these even remotely popular?

Thanks again!

AO_Undercover4 karma

Sure! Most animals sold in live markets here are chickens, then there are ducks, quails, fish and even rabbits. It's shocking that animals are kept in these terrible conditions but looking into one can give someone an idea of what life is like for animals on factory farms.

engin__r3 karma

Do you consider yourself to be an animal rights/liberation group, or an animal welfare group?

AO_Undercover7 karma

Thanks for asking! Animal Outlook does participate in some more welfare-oriented campaigns because one of our goals is to reduce suffering in the meantime, but we also advocate for animal rights and the end of using animals for food, as that is a very important issue on an environmental and ethical scale. Although we do acknowledge that the end of animal farming isn't happening any time soon, we want to protect who we can right now, as in the animals having to endure abuse and cruel confinement on factory farms. If you'd like to see more about our work, you can find our investigations and current campaigns on https://animaloutlook.org/

I do have a lot of hope for our future, though, and I'm glad I'm helping to contribute to a kinder one :)

Meli_Melo_Coco2 karma

What brands shuold we NOT be eating if we care about animal welfare? It's specifically hard for me because I buy groceries on a budget. I would love to eat organic cruelty free meats, but that's not always economically feasible. Any brands you support for meat, fish, and dairy?

AO_Undercover11 karma

Unfortunately "humane" meat is not only a myth, but more expensive. Opt for budget friendly veggies, beans, and grains instead! A common misconception is that a vegan diet is super expensive. Of course, vegan foods that are replicating meats are pricey, but so many natural foods are vegan and super affordable, like rice, pasta and what I mentioned above! Many cultures around the world have even been eating vegan and vegetarian for a long time, as can be seen in many Indian and Asian dishes like curry with tofu and veggie stir frys! Our organization also provides a lot of guidance for plant based recipes which can be found on https://tryveg.com/

kesslereb2 karma

A very popular local farm sanctuary recently dehorned one of their bovines because they are using him to promote interaction with humans. I'm horrified and they later apologized for dehorning him. But what do you think about that? Also another so-called farm sanctuary never says no to taking in new young and baby animals. I consider them a hoarder and they often bring them to events and even yoga sessions and movies. What do you feel about this practice? I abhor it and won't promote them at all.

AO_Undercover5 karma

I'm honestly not aware of this, but I will say that I think it's very unfortunate when some individuals have the best intentions and don't take note of their actions. We're all doing the best we can, at the end of the day. Good people can still be capable of making mistakes. But I would say that we all have the ability to improve on our actions and behaviors. And if you do see anything negative, always remember that you have a voice to speak up and strike up a conversation with those individuals to discuss these issues.

Norgeroff2 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

AO_Undercover4 karma

Purple! Although my favorite color is blue.

esquqred2 karma

I know you've answered how you got started with this as your career, but would you please go into where to apply and what qualifications are looked for?

AO_Undercover2 karma

Thanks for asking, if you would like to apply to become an undercover investigator you can always check our job postings. I don't think we're currently hiring for any new investigators but you can always volunteer! Our Animal Outlook Alliance team is always looking for more recruits! This could also be a way to get to know our org and possibly become a team member in the future!

As far as qualifications go, you definitely have to be passionate about the animals and dedicated. If you're a quick learner and able to be away from family and friends for extended periods of time, able to work long hours in grueling conditions, deal with all kinds of unpredictable situations... then you might be a good fit. But nothing can really prepare you for what you witness in the field. It all just has to click and everything has to fall into place.

esquqred2 karma

Thank you so much! I've been interested in doing this for awhile now and haven't had any luck where I live. And thank you for your tireless effort! I had no idea how traumatic it could be an undercover investigator until I read Mercy For Animals by Nathan Runkle. You and everyone else doing the hard work are a true inspiration!

AO_Undercover3 karma

Thank you! I wish you all the luck on your journey.

YourwaifuSpeedWagon1 karma

Does humane farming, like some companies like Ben & Jerry's advertise, even truly exist? Are there farms where animals live full, good, pain-free lives and are ethically sacrificed when the time comes? If so, do you believe it's possible and wise to push the farming sector in this direction, or is it more effective to focus on the vegan movement? Or should we do both?

AO_Undercover2 karma

I would say that humane farming can't exist within the practice of farming, as that involves exploiting an animal for their body and the meat or milk they can produce. It's a common misconception that animals can live carefree lives on the farm until they're killed because a lot of the standard practices that exist in farm life involve putting the animals through pain in order to serve their ultimate purpose. Cows are forcefully impregnated to produce milk. Calves are taken away from their mothers as soon as their born and the milk they should be drinking is instead taken for human consumption. Pigs are highly intelligent beings and they are bred to eventually be slaughtered. The idea that farmed animals only exist to be slaughtered is a heartbreaking situation. Every animal wants to live and when they witness their friends or family being killed or smell the blood in the air, they panic and try to flee in every case.

While it is realistic to believe that animal agriculture will not end within our lifetimes, it is still important to push for more stringent laws to protect the animals who currently exist within the system. At Animal Outlook, we are currently campaigning against the cruel practice of disbudding/dehorning young calves and the high speed slaughter act that the USDA is pushing for that allows pig slaughterhouses to kill pigs as fast as they want, while simultaneously pulling back on government oversight. Of course, what moves us further toward a future free from any cruelty to animals is a plant-based diet. That way, no animal needs to be exploited for their meat, milk or eggs and humans can still eat delicious, harmless food! So, as an answer to your last question, both. Both is good.

diverfan881 karma

Is there an ethical way to still eat meat?

AO_Undercover10 karma

Thanks for asking this. The sad reality is that even if you go through the trouble of trying to find an animal product that is labeled "humane" or "ethical" and shell out the high dollar price for it, cruelty and suffering is inherent in the practice of harvesting animals for food.

And even if you factor out meat from your diet, the dairy industry relies on a cruel and continuous cycle of artificially inseminating cows each year and taking their newborn calves away almost immediately at birth. The milk intended for their babies is instead sold for human consumption. The calves are also brutally mutilated by having their horns burned away in a practice called disbudding and often sold to be slaughtered at a young age for veal. There is no such thing as an ethical product made from an unwilling animal.

plskillme6661 karma

Does this nonprofit travel across the states?

AO_Undercover5 karma

Our investigators do! I've personally been in a couple different states, now. I've actually lived in other states for a longer period of time than I've lived at home!

probably_not_a_shark1 karma

What are your thoughts on PETA?

AO_Undercover3 karma

Thankfully, there are many animal protection groups advocating on the behalf of the animals and while I'm in the field I don't really have much time to think about all the other organizations. There's a lot to process during every investigation while in the field and I spend very little time at home so I'm very much focused on the investigations I conduct for Animal Outlook as I know how hard we are working as a team to ensure a positive change for animals around the world.

DasFuhrer89-2 karma

How much attention do you need to feel good about yourself?

AO_Undercover4 karma

Sadly, since farmed animals don't speak the same language we do, they can't advocate on their own behalf. If we could hear their stories, straight from their mouths, I'm sure we'd be living in a much more different and miraculous world.

Since that isn't the case, I'm working as an undercover investigator, living away from my family and friends for months at a time while keeping my identity concealed. The footage I capture on factory farms is the only way these animals are heard, and the more often people view those videos, the less I have to explain. People have the ability to see the truth through investigations footage and hopefully become advocates themselves!

CountDrewcula-10 karma

Why not invest time in helping humans instead of livestock?

AO_Undercover20 karma

Thanks for asking that! I'm also super interested in human rights as well and believe it or not, factory farming has an impact on human rights, which is why I decided to become an undercover investigator. It was pretty heartbreaking to not only see animals suffering from conditions on the farms I investigated but the workers suffering in different ways, working in unsafe environments riddled with waste and working long hours for very little pay. Most of these workers were Hispanic, many of them immigrants just wanting to make money to feed their families and as someone who is a descendant of immigrants, I understood where they were coming from and empathized with what they were going through.

There is so much pressure placed on factory farm workers who put their lives on the line for an industry that doesn't place importance on their safety or wellbeing. Even now during this pandemic, there are factory farm workers still on those farms, most of them working without hazard pay in environments where they are more susceptible to illnesses. The LA Times just covered how much workers are suffering in meat plants across the U.S.

It's evident that at every level of production, whether it be on a factory farm, slaughterhouse or processing plant, animals and the humans who participate in their production are suffering. It's a broken system and the large corporations profiting off this should be held accountable.