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.

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

 

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.

 

Image, Rich Hardy: Out of the cage but always a prisoner.

 

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.

 

For more…at: https://worldanimalsvoice.com/2019/08/20/the-undercover-investigator-and-author-rich-hardy-an-interview/  and…

https://weanimalsmedia.org/2019/03/01/interview-with-undercover-investigator-and-author-rich-hardy

 

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.

 

My best regards to all, Venus

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: