"Going Undercover in the American Factory Farm"

"She may be the only boss in America who will tell you during a job interview that you really, truly, almost certainly don't want the job. Go home and think about it, she might say. Reconsider if you need. Imagine what you'll be doing."

"The job, she'd tell you, will involve feces and dirt and animals too sick to move. It will be lonely, smelly, depressing, and exhausting. You'll be spending weeks, perhaps months, inside an American factory farm -- the kind of place that causes manure to leach into waterways and high concentrations of methane to spew into the air -- witnessing alleged acts of animal cruelty and environmental degradation that you can do little, if anything, about. A hidden camera will be your only connection to the outside world, and she -- your boss -- will be your only confidante after you get off work, the only person who will understand if you break down, weep, or just want to quit.

Still want to be an undercover investigator for the Humane Society of the United States? If so, Mary Beth Sweetland, the organization's senior director of investigations, would start investigating you. From her Vermont home, she'd make sure there's very little trace of you on the Internet, that your name is not associated with any animal rights cause, and that you pass a background check. If she's confident that the country's largest animal welfare organization can trust you with a sensitive undercover investigation, you'd be hired."

Caroline Abels reports for Humaneitarian in Grist November 26, 2012.

Source: Grist, 11/27/2012