As you know hog producers are struggling with an excess supply of market hogs due to closings and slow downs in processing plants, particularly in the Midwest. One of the unfortunate outcomes from this crisis has been the need to depopulate market hogs that could not be sent to harvest.
Last week, activists released video taken from inside an Iowa farm that was being used as a depopulation site. The activists broke into the barn being used for depopulation and placed wireless cameras inside the barn and then used those cameras to capture footage of depopulation. Additionally, activists broke in to sow farms in the same area and placed wireless cameras in those farms – with special focus on the euthanasia areas of the sow farms.
Over the weekend, the same activist group announced the creation of an interactive website with the location of farms all across the country, and said they are recruiting “whistleblowers” to take actions against farms. North Carolina pork and poultry farms are listed on their website, using information from databases readily available from state government websites.
We also know several activists have chained themselves to a farm being used for depopulation. Those activists were arrested.
What can you do on your farm?
The most important this you can do is to remain vigilant. We would encourage you to review all new hires and applicants for jobs and conduct thorough background checks. Watch the facilities around your farms. Pay attention to unusual vehicles or activities near your farms. On the inside of your buildings, watch for anything that seems out of place or unusual. We believe the activists used wireless cameras that then connected to a mobile hotspot like you could create with your phone to download video. You should be aware of any new or unusual wireless networks in or around your farms.
Report unusual activity
If you see unusual activity, please let your local law enforcement officials know. We’d also ask that you
let us know
. We can share information about unusual activity with other producers in the area and with state officials. The NC Pork Council is asking the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to share information about these activist activities in other states with law enforcement officials in North Carolina.