Earlier this month, an animal activist group called Direct Action Everywhere acquired video footage from a cage-free layer house at a farm in California. This time, the group didn’t have an undercover agent employed by the farm. Instead, under cover of night, they illegally broke into the farm to take footage of what they believed were injured laying hens.
According to Kay Johnson Smith, CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance, this tactic hasn’t been seen on farms for more than a decade.
“They used to break in on farms in the dead of night, but we haven’t seen that trend for a long time now,” she told AgriTalk host Mike Adams on Thursday. “It’s concerning that this group thought they had the right to break in without concern for the animals’ health and wellbeing.”
Because of the biosecurity breach caused by the activists, the entire house of chickens had to be euthanized. The USDA requires specific protocols to keep food produced by the poultry industry safe.
“It’s ironic that these individuals pretend they’re here for the bird’s defense, and because of their actions, thousands of birds were killed prematurely,” Smith says.
The goal of these groups isn’t truly for better treatment of animals, but to get rid of animal agriculture altogether, according to Smith. Local law enforcement officers are looking for the culprits and hope to press charges to the full extent. Smith warns farmers across the country to be wary of similar activity in their area.
“Every farm in America needs to be very vigilant right now and be on the watch for people like this showing up on their farms,” she says. “[Should you catch someone,] report it to the local law enforcement because that’s who has authority.”
Animal activists don’t have any legal right to break into private property. Smith says what concerns her the most is what could lie ahead for animal agriculture.
“Today it is animal rights activists [breaking into farms],” she says. “Tomorrow it could be different groups looking to contaminate the food supply.”