Ont. farmers develop security squad against animal activists

Bales of hay dry in a field on a farm in Meaford Township on Thursday, September 5, 2013. (JAMES...

Bales of hay dry in a field on a farm in Meaford Township on Thursday, September 5, 2013. (JAMES MASTERS/QMI Agency)

Daniel R. Pearce, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:38 PM ET

SIMCOE, Ont. — Ontario farmers are fighting back against animal rights activists by monitoring their activities online and developing their own security squad that can be called out at a moment’s notice when protesters descend on a farm or meeting.

In January, for example, organizers knew ahead of time that animal rights activists were coming to the annual meeting of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and had extra security personnel on duty at the downtown Toronto hotel waiting for them.

Kristen Kelderman of Farm & Food Care says the Guelph, Ont.-based non-profit works “behind the scenes” to see what activists are planning and to prepare for a response.

Farm & Food Care has a hotline farmers can use to call in the emergency squad.

The organization’s main goal, however, is to educate the public about the positives of farming. That means not just speaking on behalf of farmers but also teaching farmers how to speak for themselves.

Agriculture, Kelderman says, is constantly dealing with “unrealistic demands coming from uninformed people.”

At a recent meeting of pork producers in southwestern Ontario, she suggested farmers avoid arguments with activists or “cranky” people they meet in public places such as fairs.

“When talking to people like Pig Save, be calm,” Kelderman advised. “They want a reaction.”

She suggested farmers remind the public that “treating an animal humanely does not mean treating it like a human.”


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