So what about this whole issue of cameras and undercover videos being shot? I mean, how do we protect ourselves when hiring people whose agenda might be the demise of animal agriculture? I’ve a couple of ideas along those lines.
Surveillance cameras have been used in maternity barns for a while and have really become less expensive in the last few years. We’ve grown used to seeing them in place for preventing problems there, why not for preventing problems in other areas. Recent thefts in areas of Indiana, and Wisconsin of high dollar semen have given us a hint that increased security would be a wise move on our part, so why shouldn’t we use the same security systems to protect our reputations. They can be set on a continuous loop to keep a month or more of data on file. Knowing that sort of information is around keeps everyone on their toes just a bit. Heck, hang a few signs around that say, “premises under video surveillance”, what with the size of cameras anymore; they won’t be able to find them. A recent article in a dairy magazine talked about a dairy that had 16 cameras in place. One on the bulk tank, time card, working chute, etc. A quick check and I found a 4 camera system installed for $1500.00
Hiring practices. Wow has this one gotten a lot of scrutiny as of late, and is going to get worse. It’s time we in Ag figure out exactly what we can and can’t say to someone’s prospective employer. Nothing ticks me off more than finding out a problem was just passed along because nobody said anything about it. But there are legal limits to what we can say, and if these limits pose an issue in hiring animal caretakers, maybe we need to say something.
And lastly, if you don’t want it on camera, why in the heck are we doing it? Yes I know there are things that look worse for livestock than they are, but what we do needs to pass the test of “can this be justified?” Anyone who has ever handled livestock has become frustrated by livestock. They truly have a sense of making some jobs 10 times more difficult than it needs to be, but proper handling practices and facilities do help. But, all that being said, if you wouldn’t want someone to see it on tape, find a different way to do it. :)