Beware of who you allow on your farm


A friend seeking a career change contacted me the other day to give me a tip.

She said to look at a specific employment website and search the word “farm.” I was disturbed by what I found.

There were ads for “investigators” posted by animal rights groups. The job descriptions state “investigators” are required to obtain employment at “factory farms,” hatcheries and livestock markets to document conditions. 

“Investigators must be prepared to witness unimaginable cruelty and engage in intense manual labor while maintaining their composure and cover to gather information necessary to expose and stop farmed animal abuse,” one ad states. Using hidden cameras and thoroughly documenting conditions and practices in facilities while paying particular attention to animal welfare issues is another job requirement. 

These ads offer flexible hours, health benefits, retirement plans, bonuses and impressive salaries for “non-profit” organizations. One job posting was for a position in Missouri; these folks could be in our backyard right now. On that same website, farmers and ranchers were looking for workers. After seeing some of these “investigators wanted” ads, it would scare me to hire anyone.

I did a little research on the organizations posting the ads. These organizations do not physically or financially care for animals. Vegan outreach, “investigations,” legal advocacy, corporate engagement, and administration costs make up most of their budgets. No line items for feed, hay or veterinary care or funding for animal shelters. Pets aren’t even helped by the organizations. 

Most OFN readers know how I feel about these animal rights groups, so forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but I’m going to dust off my favorite soapbox. 

As farmers and ranchers, we must take a stand against groups like this, and the best way we can do that is to provide the best care possible for our animals. That means treating an animal if it is sick or injured, having proper nutrition, and providing a good quality of life from beginning to end. If you cannot afford or do not want to do those things, maybe you should rethink being involved in livestock production.

There is a big difference between animal welfare and animal rights. Animal welfare is the quality of life and the environment. Animal welfare groups have no cause to harass farmers and ranchers if animals are cared for in a humane manner. On the other hand, animal rights groups follow a philosophy that animals not be used by humans, even for food. Farmers and ranchers are animal welfare advocates; they want the best for their animals. Some animals will test you, like the steer that knocked me for a loop when we were working cows a while back, but it comes down to being an animal caretaker. 

Animal rights groups like to paint all farmers and ranchers as horrible, greedy people. They claim livestock owners are bloodthirsty, heartless killers and animal rights groups are there to “save” animals.  Yet, if “investigators” witness something they feel is inhumane, they do nothing to stop the action or even question it. “Investigators” video away and wait for their “I got ya” moments. 

If you’re looking for an employee, ask for verifiable, preferably local, references. Once you hire someone, tell and show them what you expect in animal care and handling. If there is an issue with an animal, be it ill or injured, or another employee isn’t following outlined care or handling, it should be reported immediately to you or another supervising employee. If the employee fails to do so, make it clear the lack of action is grounds for immediate termination. Good farmers and ranchers must lead by example.

Animal rights groups are looking for a reason to come to our communities and to our farms. Don’t be that reason. If you hire someone, be careful about who you trust with your livestock and your reputation.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


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