Protecting Animals from Cruelty: My Journey as an Activist in Spain

Join Jose Valle, co-founder of Animal Equality, on his journey to becoming an investigator. Discover the pivotal childhood experience that sparked his passion for animals, and find out how you can help investigators like him expose and end animal cruelty.

When I was a child, I saw my neighbors kill a pig in front of me.

I was only eight years old, but it had a profound impact on me.

I understood from hearing the pig’s cries that she felt pain just like I did. 

I also understood that what was happening was wrong. But I didn’t know what I could do about it.

At that time, I was a boy living in the countryside in northern Spain.

It was only later in life that I learned about factory farming and the ways the meat industry mistreats animals.

When I realized how many animals are being affected—how many victims there are—I felt enormously responsible and knew I should help them. 

I couldn’t continue supporting that cruelty. I decided to stop consuming animal products. 

I started investigating factory farms and slaughterhouses across the country. I’d get on a train with my camera and travel to a slaughterhouse, recording what I saw.

I would show people what I’d found, and they were always shocked by the cruelty. But then they’d say, “Oh, but most farms aren’t like that.”

So, together with my friends Sharon and Javier, we decided to investigate over 50 farms and slaughterhouses across the country. We did this all within just one year.

If you think this job sounds horrible, you’d be right. The truth is that it wasn’t easy at all.

One time, I saw a slaughterhouse worker try to render a pig unconscious by electrocuting her.

But he used the electric clamps incorrectly, placing them on different parts of the pig’s body instead of on her head. She felt the full electric shock but didn’t fall unconscious. 

She screamed in pain for several minutes until she passed away.

There were some nights when I had nightmares about what I’d seen.

But I was so determined to help animals I put aside my feelings. I thought, ‘Whatever I’m going through right now, it’s not as bad as what the animals are going through.’

So I continued.

We shared the footage with some important journalists, who broadcast it live on national television. It’s hard to put into words the reaction it created.

There was a huge reaction across Spain, and our work quickly became known across the country. The artist Banksy even referenced it as an inspiration for one of his art works.

We also began receiving emails from other activists around the world who wanted to help.

I soon realized that our investigations were connecting with people and that there are other people who are determined to help animals, no matter how bad the situation is.

Little-by-little, more investigators joined us. Over time, we became the Animal Equality you see today and we’ve spared many animals from a lifetime of suffering.

When I think back to when I was eight years old and the experience I had, seeing the mother pig killed in front of me, there’s no doubt it had an impact on me. I still remember her.

But there were also many people around me who saw the same thing and reacted very differently.

I sometimes wonder what it is that drives people to help animals and what drives other people to hurt them.

I’m not sure I know the answer.

What I do know is that each and every one of us who cares about animals is incredibly valuable.

Pigs, hens, cows, chickens, fish…for each of these animals, there’s an industry built with the sole purpose of exploiting them for money.

And each of those industries is led by people who exploit animals in the name of profit.

It’s not right and we must stand up to them.

The more of us who come together to fight for animals, the sooner we can create a world in which all animals are respected and protected.

Even the smallest act, taken again and again, can add up to something amazing. That is how long-term change is achieved.

So with that said, I ask you to please support animals and our investigators by making a donation to Animal Equality today.

Until December 31st, your donation to Animal Equality is matched by an anonymous supporter. Your gift of $25 will become $50, your gift of $50 will become $100, and your gift of $100 will become $200.

You can even double your impact for an entire year by becoming a monthly supporter. If you sign up today, your gift will be matched every month for 12 months.

Each dollar impacts 26 animals. But until December 31st, each dollar will impact 52.

And if you can’t give right now, you can still protect animals every day by replacing meat, dairy and eggs with delicious and wholesome plant proteins.

Piglet in a factory farm


Pigs are highly social animals who are often considered smarter than dogs.

You can protect these intelligent animals by simply choosing plant‑based alternatives.

Together, we’ll show the people and the companies exploiting animals that change is coming. And that we’ll always be here, fighting for animals, because turning our back on them is never an option.

Thank you,

Jose Valle


For a limited time, your donations to end animal cruelty will be matched by an anonymous donor. Double your impact today and spare millions of animals from suffering.

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