Western United Dairyman and the Milk Producers Council reported Friday that animal activists have been attempting to shoot video of dairies in the Tulare County area.
Two cars, a blue and white VW bus and maroon car, were traveling together when a dairyman spotted them on his property shooting video of his coral. The dairyman asked the intruders to leave and they did so without incident.
Western United Dairyman and the Milk Producers Council remind all dairy farmers to be on the lookout for these or any other trespassers. If these incidents occur, dairy farmers should ask the individuals to leave their private property since the persons are trespassing. If the persons will not leave contact the local authorities to report the trespassing violation.
This incident is a good reminder that we need to keep our operations safe. Here are five farm security tips from the Animal Agriculture Alliance that may be helpful to implement.
- Identify where your facility is vulnerable. Employee safety should be your first priority. Provide good lighting in parking areas. Do you use video cameras as part of your security system? Create a plan for working with local law enforcement and media if you become a target.
- When hiring, check references closely. Call previous employers; don’t just take the applicant's word for it that they have farm experience. Find out if their previous experience was “undercover” or legitimate. If you work with a temp agency or labor office, educate them about the threat that activists pose. Most infiltrators are young and often use their university ID instead of a driver’s license when applying for a farm job.
- Ask straight-forward questions during interviews. Has the applicant ever changed his or her name? Ask if they are currently working for an organization that is paying them to collect information about your company. Ask if they intend to use any equipment that can collect audio, video, or still photographs. Establish a policy that either prohibits their use or requires that all such tools be declared upon being hired and can't be used without prior consent. Provide these questions and have them answered in writing, and ensure the application is signed.
- Require that all new hires sign an animal care agreement. Train all employees in animal handling and specify that any employee who observes or receives information about animal mistreatment must immediately report that information to a supervisor. Failure to do so should be cause for dismissal and potential criminal charges.
- Watch for suspicious activity. Do certain employees come in unusually early or late? Pay attention to cafeteria or break room discussions about new hires that don’t fit in or those that seem overly curious about your company.