The recent undercover video release of abuse on an Ohio dairy farm should serve as a reminder to the state’s producers to reevaluate farm practices, according to the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC).
Too often, special interest groups are able to get one of their investigators hired, and farm staff have noticed something different about this employee, but failed to report their concerns.
OPPC says the best way to avoid issues of undercover videos is to be proactive:
- Do the right thing. Make sure your farm exceeds all expectations for animal care, cleanliness and environmental responsibility – whether there is a camera present or not.
- Set expectations for animal care. If you aren’t already certified in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, sign up to have a program that trains employees the proper way to care for animals and offers site assessments to follow up on those standards. Require all farm workers who handle animals to sign a document stating that they understand your animal care expectations, and ask them to immediately report any actions that are out of compliance.
- Maintain strict security procedures on your farms. Always keep doors locked and be mindful of what’s happening inside and outside your farms. Don’t let your absence or a false sense of security be your downfall.
- Empower your farm workers. Let them know of their importance as a team member in protecting your farm, and that you expect them to immediately report any strange behaviors or actions, or if they suspect any undercover activity.
- Hire the right people. Do background checks, reference checks and ask for actual Social Security cards. Put new hires on probation and watch them closely. If a potential hire is suspicious, share that information with the appropriate authorities.
- Watch your back – and your neighbor’s back. Pay attention to strange vehicles and try to get license plate numbers off any suspicious vehicles. Contact local law enforcement if needed.
- Stay active and in touch with your industry leadership. Share information you gather with your local community.
And above all else, be vigilant in the care of your animals.
Contact the OPPC for help or for more information at www.ohiopork.org.