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Animal rights activists compromise birds’ health

AI epidemiology
Courtesy of the Iowa Turkey Federation

When activists trespass on farms, they are violating the law as well as biosecurity protocols

February 3, 2017

As ironic as it may sound, animal rights activists are likely putting the health and well-being of chickens and turkeys at risk.

During the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, talked about some of the tactics that animal rights activists use in hopes of getting their message out that they believe animals are harmed in agricultural production. But whether they realize it or not, they could be doing more harm to poultry.

‘Stealth visitors’

One animal rights group, Direct Action Everywhere, has started to conduct what it refers to “stealth visits” to turkey and layer farms, Thompson-Weeman said. What is a stealth visit? Well, it’s not exactly on the up-and-up. In layman’s terms, it is trespassing in order to obtain photographs, video footage and to free birds they think are suffering.

“They go in after hours, get access to a barn, and bring in their video crew, bring in their open rescue volunteers,” she said.

Hannah Thompson-Weeman | Animal Agriculture Alliance

But trespassing isn’t the only thing that is apparently wrong here. Those of us familiar with the poultry industry and have been on farms have undoubtedly gone through a variety of biosecurity measures such as putting on sanitary coveralls, using a foot bath and doing many other things to make sure we don’t bring with us viruses that could be harmful or fatal to the birds.

“Do you think they are following biosecurity protocols? Do you think they know biosecurity protocols? Probably not. So these folks that are claiming to be advocating for animal care are putting those animals at risk by doing this,” she said.

Will Thompson-Weeman’s questions about biosecurity protocols ever be answered by the stealth visitors? Again, probably not. Because in order answer those questions, they would have to admit to breaking the law.

Ignorance, deceit and selfishness

The animal rights movement already has put animals in harm’s way by deceptively obtaining employment at farms and processing plants and allowing things to happen to animals that shouldn’t in order to get images that it hopes will further its cause. And now it appears it is doing something just as wrong here.

Just last week, in response to my earlier blog about animal rights activists’ role in the demise of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, one person sent me an email which included the statement: “The animal rights movement is downright selfish.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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