An Interview with Taylor Radig, Former Undercover Investigator

Former undercover investigator Taylor Radig was the most recent addition to the Twin Cities Veg Fest schedule of speakers. Those of us who attended the Animal Rights National Conference last July got to hear Taylor Radig speak about her experience as an undercover investigator filming animal abuse on factory farms. We were so moved by Taylor’s firsthand account of the cruelty she witnessed that we wanted to bring her to the Twin Cities to share her powerful story with our local community.

I got to interview Taylor recently about how she got started in animal advocacy, her thoughts on the movement for animal liberation, and what she enjoys doing with her time when not speaking out for animals.

Can you tell me about yourself?

I was raised in California, and just graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Theology. After interning for The Humane Society of the United States, I was an Outreach Intern for Compassion Over Killing, until later becoming one of their undercover investigators. Personally, I like to think of myself as extroverted, friendly, caring, and curious. I’m extremely interested in the intersection between Christian philosophy and animal advocacy, a topic I wish to pursue more fully in the near future. I just recently moved to Denver, Colorado with plans of starting an intentional community and to continue being active for animals. Overall, my main passion is creating a more loving and compassionate world.

How did you get involved in animal advocacy?

I was 17 years old when I first saw an undercover investigation from PETA, something that changed my life forever. It was only a week later that I baked over 300 vegan cookies to give out with leaflets in the middle of my high school campus. From that moment, I started to more fully internalize the idea that for animals, we’re their only major defense. Being vegan is amazing, but the animals needed more from me. Later, I got involved with some amazing activists in Los Angeles and Orange County who took me under their wing.

What makes you optimistic about the future of the movement?

Though there are many exciting things that have happened in our movement recently, I’ve seen a revitalization of the importance of effective advocacy, “Nick Coonian” style [editor: Nick Cooney was a speaker at the 2013 Twin Cities Veg Fest], something that I find drastically important for our movement’s growth. I also see a new surge of alliance building by grassroots organizations, a tactic that has historically been extremely effective for a variety of movements. Lastly, I’ve seen more people building strong communities from their activist circles, something that I think is important for the vitality of the movement.

What’s your favorite food?

As stereotypical as this my sound, I LOVE salad, but I also love a good sandwich!

What hobbies do you enjoy?

On a typical weekend, I find myself reading non-fiction, hiking, doing vegan outreach, and watching documentaries. I also really enjoy trying new things. Some of the things I’ve tried lately are cliff jumping, pyrography, rock climbing, and making hard vegan cheeses! For the last couple years, I’ve applied my love of trying new things to my own personal growth; I find myself continuously trying personal experiments that help me gain new perspectives and skills. Some are small and silly, like smiling at more strangers, and some more complicated.

At the festival on Sunday, September 28, Taylor will be speaking at 2:30pm about how she became an undercover investigator. She’ll talk about the emotional challenges she endured, and she’ll share stories of the animals who she encountered. She will also tell you about how she was ironically charged with animal cruelty and outed after an investigation of a calf-raising facility in Colorado.

All speaker presentations will be held in the Mississipi Room on the third floor of Coffman Memorial Union.

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