While occurrences of animal rights and environmental activists trespassing on farms continues to be a problem in the greater animal agriculture community, the industry needs to know how to appropriately deal with such situations.

Geraldine Auston, president of Ag & Food Exchange Ltd., offered advice on how to manage farm trespassers while speaking at the Banff Pork Seminar, held January 7-9 in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Here's a recap of her key recommendations:

Be prepared

With the rising incidence of trespassing on farms and other agricultural operations, it is important for the farmers to take steps to protect their families, animals and properties, said Auston.

All farms should take steps to secure their properties and implement any improvements to existing security and biosecurity plans. If you wish to reach out to your local law enforcement detachment to discuss trespass and how they would respond, that may be useful.

Appropriate conduct in the event of a trespass

How people handle themselves with farm trespassers is critical, Auston said.

Here are four key pieces of Auston’s advice on how to act when a trespasser enters a farm:

  • Do not engage in any way, other than to inform them that they are trespassing and to leave your property. Inform them that the police have been called.
  • Do not use force when dealing with trespassers.
  • Do not leave trespassers in a barn alone, and do not stay in a barn alone with them.
  • Capture your own evidence on your phone.

Auston said police will respond to your 911 call as soon as possible, but callers should keep in mind that 911 responses are dealt with on a priority basis. If there is an accident or a more serious crime in progress, it may take longer for law enforcement to give attention to the farm where the trespassing occurred. Be patient and continue to monitor trespassers until officers can arrive, she recommended.