It’s 2024, but Benjamin Franklin’s words from the 1730s still ring true: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
There’s never a better time than now to take an audit of your farm or facility to ensure you’ve implemented and are following security measures to make yourself and your livelihood a harder target for animal rights groups. Don’t wait for an issue or crisis to arise before you take action. Here’s what’s on your 2024 farm security audit checklist:
- Ensure offices and cabinets have locks: Make sure office areas and cabinets have locks to keep unwanted or unexpected visitors from easily accessing sensitive information.
- Install proper lighting, alarms, and cameras: We’ve all seen the dark “undercover” videos released by animal rights groups ¾ that’s because most of these videos are taken at nighttime when trespassers are less likely to be spotted. Installing proper lighting, such as motion sensor lighting, can help you spot suspicious activity sooner. Alarms and cameras are also useful in identifying trespassers or potential threats.
- Post “No Trespassing” and restricted area signs: Although we think it should be obvious that certain things like private property are not open to the public, posting “No Trespassing” and restricted area signs is an extra defense in keeping unwanted visitors out.
- Establish check-in procedures for visitors: Ensure your farm or facility has a visitor policy that each family member and/or employee adheres to. This includes verifying that visitors are who they say they are and not leaving visitors to wander the property on their own.
- Thoroughly screen all job applicants: One of the most common ways farms and facilities are targeted is by unknowingly giving an animal rights extremist access to the property via employment. There are several animal rights groups that hire team members with the sole role of finding “undercover” employment at a farm or facility. During the hiring process, make sure to verify past employment, conduct background checks, and confirm applicants are not a known animal rights extremist.
- Have proactive conversations with law enforcement: Reach out to your local law enforcement agencies to introduce yourself, share more about what you do, and to explain the potential threat of animal rights activity. Find out what your rights are and what needs to happen if protesters or suspicious individuals do show up.
- Developing a crisis communication action plan: Don’t wait for a crisis to happen before taking steps to make sure you and your team can handle it effectively. This includes assigning roles and responsibilities to team members so they can immediately take action if a crisis strikes.
Resolve to make yourself a harder target in 2024 by reviewing this checklist and ensuring you’re able to confidently tick each item off. The Animal Ag Alliance has a wealth of in-depth security resources for farms, plants, and events available to our members. Contact us for more information or if we can help in any way.
Emily Ellis is the manager of communications and content at the Animal Agriculture Alliance. In her role, she works to execute the Alliance’s issues management and communications strategy.