Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Our Undercover Investigators Answer Your Questions

Written by PETA | November 12, 2008

Here’s a rare glimpse into what it’s like for an undercover investigator. We would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the two brave individuals who went undercover at this pig factory farm in Iowa (and to undercover investigators everywhere). The investigators hope their experiences will motivate you to make a difference for animals each day in your own way. Here’s what they had to say:

What exactly was your reaction when you saw just how badly the animals were really being treated? Did you cry?

Investigator 1: I was horrified and terribly saddened. But I had a good idea of what I was going to see, and I prepared myself for it. … Because it is so critical to conceal my identity and my sympathy for animals while undercover, I [can only] cry on the inside when I see the abuse and the cruelty. I can never let my coworkers see that side of me. Sometimes, I will let out a good cry at home or in my car after a particularly disturbing day.

Investigator 2: There were some nights I would get home and get emotional about the day’s events. You have to hold it inside until you get home. If the other employees see you react in an emotional way, it would blow your cover. The people whom I have met working at a hog farm would never get emotional or upset due to the mistreatment of the animals, and so we must act in that same manner.

What toll does it take on you mentally and emotionally? How do you handle working in facilities that abuse animals?

Investigator 1: The job is challenging, both mentally and emotionally. It always helps me tremendously to look at the big picture and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Personal sacrifice is almost always necessary to achieve great change. But I take solace in those … moments that I spend, one-on-one, with the animals whom I meet on an assignment. Looking into the sad eyes of a suffering animal motivates me and energizes me to do more. And I realize that my mental and emotional anguish pales in comparison to the suffering and pain this animal is feeling right now. I get to go home after work every day, but the animals never leave.

Investigator 2: It can take a large toll on you. Seeing what happens firsthand day in and day out definitely affects you. There are times during a case when I have had nightmares about it. The only way to really get through it is to always keep in mind that this would all be happening if I was there or not. By being there, I have the opportunity to help stop abuse.

To read all of the questions and answers from the investigators, click here.

Do you think you’d be able to handle being an undercover investigator?

Written by Christine Doré

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  • Kristy says:

    Coleen I agree with you I’m just too emotional to handle the videos. Watching them will literally put me into a deep depression for days or weeks afterwards. I am so glad that the investigators can handle the horrid things that go on so we can try and do something about the cruelty those poor babies face o.

  • Coleen Tew says:

    I could never do what the investigators do I can’t even watch the videos. But thank God there are people who can hold back their feelings. I feel cowardly sometimesI wish I could be more stoic but I am just way too emotional. I have never even watched one of the videos all the way through. I have to stop it as soon as the abuse comes up the images haunt me for weeks.I guess we’re all different but I would like to say Thankyou for doing this for all of the animals and for us.

  • Maria Isabel says:

    Wow. It was nice to actually know what goes on in the minds of undercover investigators. I feel for them but they are doing great things for animals.

  • PFW says:

    This is why all vegans should hug upon meeting one another. You never know that squeeze might be just what an investigator needs right now! Hugging is now mandatory and begins at midnight EST. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Hana says:

    These investigators are so brave! I could not be able to do that job without crying or getting angry.

  • Michele says:

    Anyone who works as an undercover investigator for PETA or any animal rights organization is an absolute HERO to me! You are all amazing to be able to see what you see and to be able to continue doing it for the sake of the animals. Thank you SO much for helping to expose the horrible abuse suffered by these animals.

  • Laura says:

    Thank you for being strong enough do to this work!

  • kathleen w. says:

    I have tons of respect admiration for the investigators. It must take all the strength they have to do such a painful yet important job. I believe I could do it but it would hurt my heart so badly to see the animals suffer.

  • Sophiya says:

    I could never do that. I’d probably started crying my eyes out looking at the pigs in cages. I could never watch them being tortured. You guys rock! x

  • Carla says:

    Hail to the Heros!!! There are some heros that fight for human rights and then there the ones who fight for the animals’!!! Both equal to me!! God bless you all!!! Peace.

  • kate says:

    I have often wondered who these ‘undercover investigators’ are and think they deserve a big thank you from animal lovers all over the world. I don’t know how they do it as I would be in a state having to witness abuse so thanks you are true heroes!

  • Kelley says:

    No I think I would crack emotionally. I would love to be able to say I helped the animal movement in that way though.

  • Holly says:

    I could not do it. By the way is this Rosie in fur? not sure…

  • Dawn says:

    I could not handle being an undercover investigator either! I would burst into tears within seconds and I think would have a mental breakdown. The truly horrific images would haunt me. Undercover investigators are so incredibly strong and amazing. I don’t know how they do it.

  • SASHA says:

    YES PUT ONLY FOR AWHILE. THEN I WOULD HAVE TO GO INTO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT IN PETA! As alway a BIG THANK YOU to all the investagators for all the hard work they do.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    You guys are the best! You hold up a model of courage we can all aspire to. I remember a great quote from Ingrid Newkirk that can help all animal rights activists if they’re feeling down “Please don’t be depressed. Don’t dwell on the big picture. Because that’s more than any sensitive person can ever endure.”

  • gemma says:

    I would prob get so upset or angry by what I sawsee around me.. if it was me.. it would be enough to ‘blow my cover’.. saw yes.. the undercover investigators.. are a special group of people indeed.. and .. if it was not for them.. ie. to get real first hand ‘evidence’.. as people tend to need to ‘see in order to believe’.. thumbs up to them for the difficult but so very necessary job that they do..

  • Canaduck says:

    Nope I don’t think I could do it. Undercover investigators are amazing!!

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