The Animal Agriculture Alliance urges farm managers to be watchful for a number of individuals who have been found responsible for some of the latest undercover activist videos released to the media and public in the past year.
The Alliance recommends that all producers ensure high standards of animal welfare by following approved industry guidelines. Operators should also review their hiring practices, train employees on proper animal handling according to company policy, and hold all workers accountable for their actions.
The activist tactic of obtaining illicit employment at a farm or processing plant in order to acquire video intended to malign the reputation of farmers and ranchers is becoming increasingly common. While animal abuse in any shape or form is never condoned by the agriculture industry, activists use highly-edited images of violence and neglect to prey on the emotions of the public, the organization notes.
In most cases, employers realized, after the fact, who the former undercover employee had been. They also recognized, after the fact, many behaviors or actions demonstrated by the undercover employee that allowed them to have access to the animals and to produce videos, whether of real or staged animal mistreatment.
Some of the behaviors included:
- 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.
Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance