Spies, Lies, and Empty Cages: Intimate State-Surveillance, Carceral Capitalism, and Social Ecology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter deals with the issue of ‘intimate’ state surveillance in the UK, characterised by the fact that hundreds of undercover police officers infiltrated activist groups, including animal rights and animal welfare groups. Many of these undercover police tricked women activists into sexual relations, a practice that has continued since the 1960s. The on-going Undercover Policing Inquiry has emerged from the growing evidence that a number of undercover police officers also acted as agents provocateur, promoting direct action that often led to activists being prosecuted and, in some cases, imprisoned. What is most remarkable is the degree to which animal rights groups, environmentalist groups, left wing political activists, trade union organisers, as well as anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigners, were, for decades, subjected to an invasive, violent and unlawful regime of undercover policing. The extent to which the security state targeted animal rights groups and those involved in promoting animal welfare, is a direct indication of the absolute centrality of the animal industrial complex, within the system of capital accumulation through exploitation. That the state spent, and continues to spend so much time, effort and resources on suppressing dissenting voices and maintaining the status quo, highlights the importance of grasping the truly intersectional political entanglements that keep both people and animals in cages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVegan Entanglements
Subtitle of host publicationDismantling Racial and Carceral Capitalism
EditorsZ. Zane McNeill
Place of PublicationBrooklyn, US
PublisherLantern Publishing
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781590566619
ISBN (Print)9781590566602
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022

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