Could you be hiring an “undercover” activist?

Are the employees working on your farm there to help care for your animals? Do their goals align with your business? Unfortunately, it’s a common strategy for some animal rights organizations to have individuals go “undercover” on farms. They record videos that can be taken out of context, stage scenes of animal mistreatment or encourage abuse to record it without doing anything to stop it.

Hiring good employees
A farm worker taking care of cows.

While the first step is always ensuring your animal care practices are beyond reproach, the Animal Agriculture Alliance also advises farmers and ranchers to be vigilant when hiring. Ensure everyone hired is there for the right reason – to provide care to livestock – and does not have any ulterior motives that would distract from that.

7 tips for hiring farm employees

The Alliance is a non-profit working to bridging the communication gap between farm and fork for more than thirty years. We monitor animal rights activists and offers these tips when hiring:

  1. It is vital to thoroughly screen applicants, verify information and check all references.
  2. Be cautious of individuals who use a college ID, have out of state license plates or are looking for short-term work.
  3. During the interview, look for answers that seem overly rehearsed or include incorrect use of farm terminology.
  4. Search for all applicants online to see if they have public social media profiles or websites/blogs. Look for any questionable content or connections to activist organizations.
  5. Require all employees to sign your animal care policy. Provide training and updates on proper animal handling training.
  6. Require employees to report any mishandling to management immediately.
  7. Watch out for red flags, such as coming to work unusually early or staying late and going into areas of the farm not required for their job.

Trust your gut

Always trust your gut – if something doesn’t seem right, explore it further. Be vigilant and never cut corners, even if you need to hire someone quickly. Doing your homework on every job applicant may be time-consuming, but it can ultimately save your business’ reputation. As always, it is important to work with your legal counsel to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.

hiring employees
Are you hiring?

For farm security resources and background information on animal rights activist organizations, go to or email us. Members of the Animal Ag Alliance have access to more detailed resources on hiring and farm security.

How to protect your farm from extreme activists

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all; treat others like you would like to be treated; always be respectful – these are all basic rules I learned growing up. Unfortunately, some people have forgotten these simple gestures and need to listen to R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin on repeat.

It’s no surprise that animal rights activist extremists are not fond of farmers and ranchers who raise animals. No matter how well the animals are treated under the farmers’ care, it will never be enough for the activists because their goal is a world without meat, milk, poultry and eggs. Just because these activists would rather see farmers out of business, it does not give them the right to break the law in the name of animal rights – but that is exactly what they are doing.

Animal rights activists harass farmers

Across the world, animal rights activist extremists are harassing and stealing from farmers and ranchers. Here are just a few of their stunts:

Turkey biosecurity

Wearing plastic booties for biosecurity

Since when is this type of behavior okay? Thankfully, the law is catching up with some of them. The leader of the very extreme group, Direct Action Everywhere is facing multiple charges for his illegal actions against farmers.

Breaking into farms could potentially put the animals in danger. Farmers take the health and well-being of their animals seriously. Biosecurity is any procedure or practice intended to protect humans and animals against disease. When someone breaks into a farm they may track in germs that could get the animals sick, especially if they are traveling from farm to farm trying to gain access.

Protect your farm

To protect your farm and animals from these extreme actions, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Have proper lighting, motion detectors, security cameras, and locks or key code access on gates and doors.
  2. Proactively connect with local law enforcement – let them know any concerns you have and ask for advice and protocol suggestions. Make sure they have access to maps of your facilities.
  3. If you do encounter any suspicious activity, immediately report it to law enforcement and notify the Animal Agriculture Alliance and your state commodity association. This could be anything from someone trying to get hired on your farm with dishonest intentions to a drone flying overhead.

If you are being harassed or activists are trespassing on your farm, please contact the Animal Agriculture Alliance at