The trailblazing Gemunu De Silva, a United Kingdom-based undercover investigator of animal exploitation, joins us this week on Our Hen House. Gem, one of the first and longest-serving investigators of the worldwide hidden mistreatment of animals, tell us about his path into the world of animal activism and the animal rights movement. It was his very first factory farm investigation in the 1980s that not only horrified him but, fortunately, inspired him to devote his life to helping to amplify unheard voices. After years of international investigations, he founded Tracks Investigations, an investigation agency working to support the important work of animal protection organizations around the globe. Plus, Gem highlights the impact and influence of investigative filmmaking on legislation.
Gemunu De Silva is a filmmaker and activist who has been investigating and documenting animal rights abuses since the 1980s. He was the first person in the UK to film inside industrial farms and expose the atrocities within. In the early 1990s, he went on to direct and produce a number of documentaries for UK national television relating to animal issues. Gemunu’s path led him to establish and operate the Investigations Unit at Compassion in World Farming. In the early 2000s, he went to work as the Director of Research and Investigations at Cruelty Free International, where he specialized in exposing the vile international trade in primates for research. In 2006, Gemunu co-founded Tracks Investigations, an ethical investigation agency undertaking projects for animal protection groups around the globe. To date, Tracks have completed over 260 investigative film projects for 38 animal rights and protection organizations in 58 countries.
“I think investigations are probably the most powerful tool that you can have in your armory in the animal rights world. Not only do they change public opinion, they also change legislation.” – Gemunu De Silva
Highlights for Episode 639:
- Why Gem first stopped eating meat and how that led to him becoming involved with animal rights activism at a local level
- The difficulties of using cumbersome VHS equipment in initial investigations and how they managed to film the conditions in animal hellholes
- How Gem manages the trauma
- How he deals with the fact that presenting people with information doesn’t always inspire change
- His family’s reaction to his career choice and the radical streak found in one half of his family
- Techniques for getting into factory farms and capturing footage and how those techniques have changed over the last 30 years, especially as technology has improved
- His role in infiltrating and exposing a monkey trapping operation in Mauritius while he was working for Cruelty Free International
- Advice on what makes for a good undercover investigator and how a team can work together to produce results
- Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrls Trailer
- Corning Museum of Glass
- Meow Meow Tweet is offering 20% off for our listeners!
Connect with Gemunu De Silva:
- Tracks Investigations Website
- Tracks Investigations on Instagram
- Tracks Investigations on Twitter
- Gemunu De Silva on LinkedIn
- Pioneering Undercover Investigator Finally Emerges From Behind the Camera
- Gemunu De Silva on Species Unite Podcast
Connect with Our Hen House:
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