05/10/2020

In the second part of a Get WIRED series, we go inside one man’s mission to bring to light one of factory farming’s most notorious practices.

Last weeks episode of the Get WIRED podcast introduced listeners to Direct Action Everywhereone of the most radical animal-rights organizations aroundand the groups leader, Wayne Hsiung. We learned how the group has been utilizing VR cameras to capture footage so immersive, viewers literally cant escape the sights and sounds of a factory farm.
This week, WIRED senior writer Andy Greenberg takes us inside another DxE operation, with an activist named Matt Johnson. Earlier this year, Johnson received a tip from a whistleblower that a pig farm in Iowa was about to attempt a ventilation shutdowna process during which large clusters of livestock are killed at once by turning off airflow in a closed barn and pumping in heat, effectively suffocating the animals. Its a procedure that is supposed to happen only as a last resort and as quickly and painlessly as possible. In this case, Covid-19 and the farms overpopulation of pigs had spurred its ventilation shutdown plans. But Johnson had a feeling that the process wouldnt be anything close to painless euthanasiaand he was right.
While last weeks episode involved complicated VR camera rigs, this weeks episode covers how Johnson and his team used off-the-shelf technology and internet-enabled hidden cameras to capture the footage. We explore what this means for the future of surveillance, and the concept of sousveillanceusing the same technology to surveil powerful entities instead of the other way around. Its another episode you wont want to miss.
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