The growing threat of animal activism: preventative steps to take

30th May 2024

Photo of sheep on a farm

The growing threat of animal activism means heightened vigilance and preventative measures are required on farms across the country. As incidents continue to rise, businesses and processors are being increasingly targeted. Heightened vigilance is key, as activists are more sophisticated than ever before.

While on-farm encounters can be challenging and in some cases frightening, it is essential for farmers to remain calm and take the right steps to help protect their business.

If you are confronted with activists at your farm, it is crucial to refrain from engaging. Contact the police immediately; this will help manage the situation as well as eliminating the need for comment, should the press become involved on either side, as it will be subject to a police enquiry.

While activists have a right to protest, the methods which they employ may sometimes lead to legal violation. Involving the police at the earliest stage, therefore, will ensure the matter is handled professionally and promptly. Adopting the most robust preventative measures – more so than traditionally seen on farms – can also help mitigate against potential disruptions. Security measures such as CCTV, properly fixed fences and security lighting is essential. However, one element of robust security measures are often overlooked – thoroughly vetting potential employees.

In-depth background checks are vital – potential employees should be scrutinised, especially where experience is questionable or misaligned with the roles they are applying for – or where qualifications do not match the job requirements. Employment contracts should include specific clauses which prohibit employees from working with third parties, as any breach of terms constitute fraud.

The issue of on-farm activism and trespassing is unlikely to go away. Robust measures such as those outlined above should be put in place to help protect you and your business’ future.

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