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A story of the people and industries exploiting animals for food, fashion and entertainment from the unique perspective of an undercover investigator.

Knowingly or not we all share our lives with animals. Many of us have pets, but our relationship with farmed, wild or captive animals - those used to put food on our plates, clothes on our backs or smiles on our faces - are more fleeting and less personal. We know little about their lives. But this book seeks to change that.

Most of the animals used by humans are incarcerated or mistreated away from public view, so the only way to tell their story is to go undercover. Working with a fake identity, a notebook and a covert camera concealed in a shirt button, I travelled to places few get to see or can even imagine. Theirs is a world of secrets.

While undertaking high-risk assignments for the nonprofits that work to protect animals, I was forced to live a double-life. It turns out to get to the truth you have to be prepared to tell a few lies. It was the only way I could infiltrate the international meat business, the fur trade and the travelling circus to help expose the methods and systems they use and inherently abuse.

But this is not just a collection of animal stories.

This is an account of the normal people that do bad things when the public isn't watching. How they justify committing unspeakable acts of cruelty or don't even acknowledge the suffering their actions cause.

It's also a story about why, as an animal-loving vegan, I learned to trap raccoons, blag my way into slaughterhouses, and much more, as a way to get on the inside of industries, cultural traditions and clandestine groups that usually won't share their secrets with outsiders.

Sometimes dangerous, often emotional but usually just surreal, this one-of-a-kind perspective examines what it’s like to live and work amongst your adversaries and what you can achieve if you feel strongly enough about something.

Of course, this is a book for animal lovers, but it also offers something for the curious minded. It’s for anyone who’s eaten a burger, watched animals perform, taken a carriage ride or worn fur and wondered ‘how did these animals live their lives’?

Rich Hardy went vegan as a child when, from the window of his classroom, he saw a pig desperately attempt to escape across the school playground from the slaughterhouse next door. Going vegan was his first big step toward a lifetime of activism. 


Following a very short-lived career in professional football, Rich decided to commit himself full-time to activism for animals, oceans and the environment. First, as a campaigner and lobbyist, and eventually as an undercover advocate, infiltrating the industries and people who breed, rear or capture animals to provide society with animal-based food, clothing and entertainment.


Former leader of “Britain’s coolest environment group”, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), Rich ditched the perfect wave to go full time with his covert camera and fake identities. His journey, over the course of almost two decades and 28 countries, led him to the darkest corners of humankind's relationship with animals.


Over 20 animal protection groups from around the world have since benefited from his hard-hitting investigations, using them to kickstart campaigns that make the world a better place for the animals we share it with.


His investigative activism for animals has been broadcast in exposés across international media but, in a bid to allow his covert work to continue, he’s never been named publically, until now.


Having retired his covert camera and collection of alternative identities, Rich now runs campaigns at Veganuary, an international charity supporting people as they transition to a vegan lifestyle.


Rich lives in Cornwall, UK, close to his favourite surf break. Together with his partner, and fellow campaigner for farm animals, he runs a micro-sanctuary for the dogs, cats, chickens and ducks they’ve rescued from shelters and factory farms.

Few things stay the same over the course of 500 years, but fur trapping hasn’t strayed too far from its roots. That’s apart from the fact that people now wear fur for high fashion rather than the basic necessity of staying warm.

And while trapping equipment has evolved a little, the actual act of trapping a wild animal hasn’t. Figuring out a good location, setting the trap and applying a scent to make it attractive to a particular animal is knowledge that gets passed down from father to son or trapper to trapper and because of that, the story has stayed pretty much the same.

So, over the course of two winters, I learnt to become a fur trapper. A bad one. A trapper that showed enthusiasm and a passion to get out into the great outdoors but who couldn’t catch anything himself. To the trappers I was useless, an oddity and a bit of a laughing stock but while I couldn’t capture animals, I could capture the activity of the trappers and I was good at that.

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