Day: August 20, 2019

England: Formal Announcement by Juliet at Viva! – re Hogwood Victory.



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I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that, following our third investigation into Hogwood Farm, Tesco and Red Tractor have finally responded to the cruelty we found there.

The hidden camera footage we obtained of workers abusing pigs at Hogwood Farm has led to Tesco dropping Hogwood as a supplier and Red Tractor suspending their certification.

This is a HUGE victory! We can’t express just how much this decision meant to us, all our amazing supporters, and the thousands of pigs trapped inside Hogwood Farm.

Mark – our work is not over. We’re in production for our groundbreaking documentary – Hogwood: a modern horror story – telling the story of Hogwood and UK factory farming in a way it’s never been told before

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Our team installed five hidden cameras across three sheds for a week-long investigation. We released this footage to The Daily Mail and, in response, Tesco and Red Tractor finally withdrew their support from the farm.

The hidden camera footage that we obtained showed horrific abuse by workers at Hogwood – with pigs being routinely beaten and kicked, as well as whacked with doors and cages.

Although we congratulate Tesco and Red Tractor on finally making the right decision, I can’t help but question why it is routinely left to vegan campaigning groups like Viva! to expose the abuse taking place on farms. And why it took three years of investigations for Tesco to act.

Factory farming is an inherently cruel business and we hope that this exposé shows that assurance schemes like Red Tractor cannot be trusted.

We’re not going to stop. Hogwood is huge but it’s just one farm – we’re going to keep campaigning to end this cruelty.

Our investigations were splashed across national newspapers and shared across the world. Yet Tesco, the government, National Pig Association, Trading Standards and Red Tractor repeatedly leaped to Hogwood’s defence.

Since our first investigation, the owners of Hogwood Farm invested thousands of pounds in security – rather than improving conditions for these poor animals. With such priorities, the animals will need us more than ever.

Our undercover investigations shine a light on the inherent cruelty hidden behind these closed doors. Let’s continue the momentum and help others choose compassion over cruelty.

Hogwood Documentary – we’re going to tell their story. Our groundbreaking documentary, Hogwood: a modern horror story, is currently in production and we need your help to fund its production and distribution – so we can get it out to millions of people.

Support the campaign:

Yours for the animals

Juliet Gellatley
Founder & Director, Viva!.


Our (WAV) recent post on this victory:




In memory of Tyke…



Tyke was a female Elephant born 1974 and died August 20, 1994 after being shoot by the police 87 times.

It took nearly 2 hours for her to die there on the street in terrible pain, lonely and afraid…

Tyke was trapped and taken away from her family when she was a baby. She was shipped to the circus. There, she was confined to a concrete room and beaten over and over, to break her spirit. Circus trainers hit her repeatedly with a sharp metal “bullhook,” which made her cry out in pain. They struck her in her most sensitive areas: behind her ears, on top of her toes, in back of her knees, and around her anus. They wanted to hurt her and frighten her so she would be obedient.

She spent most of her time in chains, doing nothing. Her bones ached from no exercise. Her diet was monotonous. She stood in filth and excrement. She was deprived of every aspect of normal elephant life.

The day she died she was as usual performing for Hawthorne circus which have a long record of animal cruelty violations. In 1988, according to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) documents, Tyke was beaten in public to the point where she was “screaming and bending down on three legs to avoid being hit.” The trainer said he was “disciplining” her…

By April of 1993, she had enough. She tried to escape during a circus performance. She didn’t make it. In July she tried to escape again; she was unsuccessful. Hawthorn should have retired her right then and there, as she was an obvious threat to the public. But they didn’t. Only God knows what punishment she received when brought back to the Circus.

For the next year she performed in the circus and lived in a barren concrete barn, chained, between shows. The bullhook beatings continued. She vacillated between terror and boredom.

In August of 1994 Tyke reached a breaking point. She had been in the circus nearly 20 years. She was tired of being beaten, whipped, and kicked. She could no longer take the pain and the confinement. She was angry and wanted to be free. At an afternoon performance at the Neal Blaidsell Center in Honolulu, it all came to a head.

At some point during the show, she veered from the script. Circus staff tried to beat her back, but no bullhook or whip could stop the rage that had been building inside her for two decades. She crushed her trainer, Allen Campbell. She attacked two other people. She panicked the crowd. She ran into the streets. It was rush hour. She was disoriented and no idea where she was. She charged at bystanders and smashed cars as she made her way through several city blocks. Onlookers screamed. The police were called out and started shooting at Tyke with rifles.

She slowly fell over, then awkwardly stood back up. The police kept firing. Her head swayed, and her legs buckled. She got up again. The spray of bullets continued. She rocked her head violently from side to side. Her legs gave way once more. She was on her knees and could not right herself. Her eyes were fully open and confused. The shooting went on for several more seconds. Finally, she fell, very slowly, onto her side.

This was Tyke’s final performance. The price of freedom from the circus was steep. She was shot 87 times!!!


…This is the two-class justice that protects the fascist law of the stronger, the ruler, the offender.
We respect animal rights only if they use our rights, that is, only if we remain the victors in the end.

We will not forget Tyke.
And we will continue to fight so that animals no longer have to serve as slaves the circus business.

Best regards to all, Venus

Don’t Believe In Dairy Tales – See the Reality Yourself; Here.

werbung mit Kuh auf Milchkartonn

werbung mit Kuh auf Milchkartonn



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The undercover investigator and author Rich Hardy-an interview



Rich Hardy has been an undercover investigator and ‘visual evidence gatherer’ in the animal protection movement for 20 years. His upcoming book, ‘Not As Nature Intended’, follows his journey, telling the stories of the animals he’s met, and the people behind their suffering.

We spoke to him about the power of story-telling, the importance of visual recording, and what it’s like to be close enough to see everything, but just far enough away not to be noticed.

You call yourself a “visual evidence gatherer” rather than a photographer. Can you describe the nature of your work?

Rich Hardy: I learnt to use cameras as a way of gathering evidence for animal protection groups in my role as an undercover investigator. I think a ‘visual evidence gatherer’ is a more honest appraisal of what I’ve done. The focus of my assignments has been to document systemic problems, law-breaking and to show what animals have to endure when farmed for food, bred for fashion, trapped for science or held captive for entertainment. Capturing images has been a big part of it, but it was also about gathering insider information to bolster campaigns. The resulting documentation has been used as evidence to create new laws, to support prosecutions, or has been released as part of media exposés to the press.

For nearly two decades I committed myself to go undercover for animals. The work varied, depending on the assignment. A project could be trailing live animal transport trucks across Europe for several days, or a week of surveillance at a circus, filming from the boundary of a hedgerow. But my main specialisation was infiltration and getting close enough to the people and industries who are responsible for the cruelty animals endure that they would share their secrets with me.

RichHardyFeature1200pxImage, Rich Hardy: Left to die. A factory farm in Italy.


Which came first for you: animals or photography? Can you tell us a little about your path to where you are today?

RH: Animals came first and by quite a long way. I was brought up in a veggie household and we were all vegan by the time I was 15 (I’m 47 now). We had quite a few rescued animals around the house, and activism coursed through our veins (my parents took me out to protests at slaughterhouses when I was a toddler).

After college I saw a job advertised for a farm animal campaigner at Compassion in World Farming. I went for it and got it. The early 1990s was a lean period for pure vegan advocacy. I could see it was essential to work on campaigns to outlaw the very worst of the farming systems out there, so I began working on campaigns to end barren battery cages, sow stalls and live animal exports.

I met a lot of politicians during this period, especially when delivering reams of scientific reports to them that explained how bad it was to confine farm animals in cages and crates. But it was never enough. They always wanted more than just black text on white paper. They wanted imagery, and we didn’t have much, so I u-turned on lobbying and got myself some cheap cameras, which I hoped to put to use documenting the systems the politicians were failing to take action against.

I did my first assignment in 1999, inside a battery cage egg-laying system in New Zealand, and my last in the Autumn of 2018, training Ukrainian activists in the art of undertaking investigations for farm animals.

kanninchen ausser Käfig jpgImage, Rich Hardy: Out of the cage but always a prisoner.


What are you trying to achieve with your work, and why is focussing on animals important?

RH: It’s always been clear to me that the plight of animals used by humans is a huge social justice issue that urgently needs addressing. First and foremost I’ve always worked to meet the needs of the relevant campaign group through investigations. I think it’s helped being trained as a campaigner first, as I can easily put myself in their position of understanding what would be of most value to help the campaign. Having that knowledge, and also understanding animal behaviour, has helped me get into positions where I can capture these critical moments – moments, which can sometimes make the difference in whether a campaign is successful or not.

Recently though I’ve been interested more in storytelling. I’ve started looking through my archive of images and footage, along with reams of notebooks, and found myself reliving moments. I’ve discovered important stories that were lost within the bigger project, tragic encounters with individual animals that I’ve never expressed to others, and those moments I’ve had to endure with my adversaries – people responsible for terrible actions. I want to make sure I share these in a wider context to ensure people understand what’s hidden from them. While I don’t have the strength to go undercover anymore, I can make sure I squeeze every ounce of information out of the work I’ve undertaken, through storytelling.

It’s for that reason I set up an Instagram account and began sharing brief moments from the unique perspective I’ve had as an eyewitness in a world of suffering. I usually focus on posting images that tell the story of an individual animal, through the experiences of another individual – myself.

kanninchen im schlachthousepgImage, Rich Hardy: Caged right up to the final moments. Rabbit slaughterhouse.


A lot of your images are taken using a covert camera. Why did you choose this approach? What are its strengths and challenges?

RH: While I’ve used DSLR’s and plenty of video cameras over the years, my go-to equipment for infiltration projects has to be a covert camera. It’s allowed me to capture images that I could never document openly. I’ve spent quite long periods of time undercover infiltrating the people behind animal exploitation industries. Getting to know them and understand how they work has opened up a world that is closed to most. These projects require a lot of patience and an ability to build trust with people whose every action you would normally recoil from. They are often cruel and brutal peopleto animals, and sometimes to their fellow humans too. But not all. Sometimes they are very normal people, respected for kind acts in their community, while simultaneously keeping 30,000 hens locked up in tiny cages in a windowless shed.

I usually use a body-worn camera package. So a DVR (digital video recorder) and a high-definition button camera, which I conceal in a shirt. These packages have improved so much in recent years. Not just in quality, but also in their size and weight. They are more comfortable to use and easier to conceal.

They still take a bit of time to get used to, but with a little practice, your body and the camera start to work together as one. And while you don’t have your hands on it, you learn to hold and direct your body in a way that you know will capture the everyday occurrences you need to gather as part of the assignment. But things can and do go wrong, and the situation doesn’t always allow for you to put it right, so you have to accept some loss of imagery. In those moments, I just stay patient and hope when the next opportunity comes round I don’t miss it.

However, it’s dangerous work. There’s one moment I’ve always dreaded when wearing these cameras. Detection. I’ve never been caught but I’ve come very close. I remember being challenged by a manager at a huge reindeer slaughterhouse in the middle of nowhere in the Arctic about wearing a hidden camera. He’d noticed me adjusting the overalls I’d been given and became suspicious. He asked me straight out if I was wearing a camera. My heart skipped several beats and all I could think about was how easy it would be to hide my body in the deep snow, if they wanted to. Calling his bluff was the only way out. I began undoing the overalls one button at a time. With one button to go before the camera was revealed he told me to stop, and apologised for challenging me. I can’t tell you how relieved I was.

I’ll always switch to overt cameras, if the situation allows. Sometimes it might take a week or two for this happen or sometimes it won’t happen at all. It depends on the project and the type of people you’re around. It might not always be a fancy camera – that might not fit in with your cover story. An iPhone’s pretty useful. People are used to seeing them around and the quality is good, so using them doesn’t always raise suspicion – which is what you’re looking to avoid at all cost on infiltration projects.

schweine in rumänischem MarktImage, Rich Hardy:Trading places. A Romanian animal market.


What do you enjoy most about your work? What do you find most challenging?

RH: There’s not much to like during the projects. At times I felt pretty powerless swallowed up in situations of immense suffering. During these moments, I just had to put those feelings aside, and focus on the task that had been asked of me. The natural instinct is to want to intervene when you see an animal suffering, but on investigations, particularly those that put you in direct contact with the people that own them, you have to take a step back. I guess in some ways it’s a bit like theatre. You’re watching the cast perform, and you’re sitting in the front row of the audience. You’re out of the spotlights, but only just. Close enough to see everything, far enough away to not be noticed.

It’s also pretty challenging maintaining a cover story for a long period of time. I had to create opportunities to document things that few get to see, but I had to build it on a fabricated story. I always believe if animals are suffering it’s in the public interest to know about it. Most industries using animals for human gain prefer to keep their methods and systems to themselves, so using a cover story is often the only way in to see what takes place. But it’s hard work spending a month undercover, say with fur trappers, and keeping your cover story intact. Especially when you’re trying to bond with them. It’s pretty exhausting, and when you’re exhausted you can slip up. I quickly learned to keep my cover identity simple and as close to the truth as possible to avoid costly mistakes.

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed any of this work. I never expected to do it for so long either. I never set a timeline for how long I was going to do it, so perhaps that’s why it’s gone on so long. I just kept answering the call when it came, and putting regular life on hold.

I am of course satisfied with some of the outcomes of my work. I’m very happy to have been able to help over twenty of the world’s animal protection groups by working on multiple assignments for them across 30 countries. And while I don’t think it’s always easy to measure impact, I’m content knowing that some of the assignments have contributed to speeding up reforms for animals, less suffering or just opening someone’s eyes to something new that had been concealed from them.

You are currently writing a book, ‘Not As Nature Intended’, about your experiences working undercover and the animals you’ve met. Why is this project important, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

RH: The book started out as something I thought I might do about 5 years ago, but didn’t really get moving on until about two years ago when I started jotting down some of the feelings and thoughts I was left with post-assignment. It’s not a photographic account, but a narrative non-fiction on what it’s been like to infiltrate secretive animal industries and shine a light on what happens to make them work from the inside. There are plenty of stories I tell about individual animals, but I also examine the people behind the animal suffering. To be honest it’s been a bit of a surreal experience; a real rollercoaster of emotions that swing from the bizarre to the chilling. So in addition to reporting on the secret workings of these industries, I’m recounting how I got to be there, what I saw, who I met and how I was left feeling.

I’m working with a British publisher to get the production costs crowdfunded, after which it can enter the mainstream publishing world, where I hope the stories can then really make a difference. I hope it will open people’s eyes or attract the curious-minded to find out more about how animals are treated to put food on our plates, clothes on our backs or smiles on our faces.

I’ve also written it so it could sit within an animal rights archive of sorts. I really think it’s important for us to archive all the elements and techniques that have gone into securing change for animals. There will come a time when people look back at all these campaigns and be appalled that we ever had to fight so hard to end the abuse animals endure at the hands of humans, but like all social justice issues it’s important to remember and learn from hard-won battles. Undercover investigations have been a big part of our movement and I feel it should be recorded in a format that others can access to learn from and adapt to other issue-based campaigns. This would be my contribution.

hühner in KäfigenpgImage, Rich Hardy: Factory farming in miniature. A quail farm.


What’s next for you?

RH: After spending a little time helping the next wave of activists learn some of these investigative skills, I’ve gone back to frontline campaigning for farm animals. Rather than focus on the problems, I’m advocating the solutions.

I’m running the campaign programme at ‘Veganuary’ – a worldwide month-long pledge, where people can try a vegan diet. It’s a campaign built on inspiring and supporting people to experience a vegan lifestyle, and it’s a pretty big thing right now. The campaign – a twist on trying vegan as a New Year’s resolution – is at its peak in January. Almost a quarter of a million people have signed up for this year’s campaign, which is so exciting to see.

Coupled with all the exciting innovation taking place around the development of plant-based foods, I’m more hopeful than ever before that people will start ditching the meat and dairy in their lives and transition to cruelty-free lifestyles.

I’m also doing a few public talks as well to support the book project. It actually feels quite liberating talking about some of these projects for the first time.

Other than that I’ll be trying to surf a bit more often, while also looking after the 17 rescues me and my fiancee have at our micro-sanctuary in Cornwall. We’ve managed to rescue dogs, cats, chickens and ducks, from shelters and factory farms, and are hell-bent on making sure they get the best life possible, after such terrible starts.


Does anyone need a comment about it?
No! We sincerely thank Rich Hardy for his courageous and well-planned investigative work that brings to light the suffering of the animals and the unscrupulous animal industry that produces it.


Best regards to all, Venus