Producers are urged to be extremely cautious when hiring farm employees. The animal agriculture industry is under attack by extremists and animal rights activist. Several of the latest undercover activist videos released to the public are the handy-work of undercover activists.
While good welfare and following industry standards on animal handling is the best defense, producers should also be cautious of these undercover “investigators. The Animal Agriculture Alliance has identified several “investigators” posing as regular farm employees.
Waiting weeks and even months, these “investigators” take highly edited video clips and release them to the public when the most politically opportune time arises. Preying on the publics’ emotions, the video clips’ authenticity is often neglected and producers are immediately blamed for “unacceptable practices.”
Producers can protect themselves through high standards of animal welfare; but also through keeping an eye out for the undercover “investigators.” The Animal Agriculture Alliance has identified several behaviors common to undercover employees.
Some behaviors include:
- Befriending or mingling with upper management – asking questions about operations including security matters or time schedules.
- Volunteering for jobs before or after normal business hours.
- Volunteering for jobs that are less desirable, but would provide them access to the animals, often before or after normal business hours.
- Seeking employment in jobs below their skill or education level; demonstrating previous jobs or experiences out of character for the job they were seeking.
- Seeking employment with no pay – so they can “learn more about the business before committing to that field” either with regard to their education or possibly before starting their own business.
- Using an out-of-state driver’s license.
Producers should keep a record of the investigators revealed by the Animal Agriculture Alliance and practice extreme caution when hiring employees. Positions should only be offered to people who are there for the right reasons – to help produce a safe and nutritious food supply.
The agriculture industry must be wary – activists have shown that they will work every angle in their quest to put all farmers, ranchers, and meat processors out of business. The first step for every farm operator is to ensure that top quality animal care is provided at all times. It is also critical that those in the industry take extra security precautions to prevent getting targeted by animal rights groups looking for video to aid in their fundraising efforts and political campaigns.