Animal Liberation Frontline obtains closely-guarded fur farmer
"Animal rights extremism has been the biggest threat to the
well-being of the mink ranching community for the past 30 years." - fur
farm security manual
"If an individual or group is determined to enter your property, and
willing to risk capture or injury, there is nothing that can absolutely
Animal Liberation Frontline has been leaked a 20-page document for fur farmers titled "Site Security: Strategies and Protocols" This manual is circulated to mink and fox farmers by the Fur Commission USA, and provides the most detailed look to date into security protocols fur farmers use to protect themselves against the Animal Liberation Front.
This is a very sensitive document that the fur industry never wanted public. It reveals every detail on how they prevent ALF raids - from motions senors to fence tampering sensors and more.
The guide is a manual for both preventing ALF raids, and doing damage control after they have happened. It is the culmination of everything the Fur Commission USA has learned in 17 years of ALF fur farm liberations.
Since 1995, there have been over 90 raids of fur farms in the US. This campaign has seen the liberation of over 100,000 animals and millions of dollars in damages inflicted on the fur industry. In a 2011 poll, fur farmers rated these raids by "animal rights extremists" as the single greatest threat to their businesses.
To protect themselves, the Fur Commission USA created this manual. The document includes detailed descriptions of alarm systems, doing fur farm security assessments, how to use neighbors to report suspicious activity, and more tactics for preventing ALF raids.
Fur farmers shift focus to security
The FCUSA to has admitted to shifting it's focus last year after the realization that the ALF - not mainstream efforts - represented the biggest threat to fur farmers:
This document is part of that shift. Once focused on public relations, fur farmers have tacitly admitted they cannot win the support of the public, and instead should shift their focus to "farm security". That is, preventing raids by the Animal Liberation Front.
Highlights from the manual
Among the interesting items included:
*What fur farmers should (and should not) say to the media if their farm is raided.
*What fake cameras to use for the fur farmer who cannot afford real ones.
*How to entice neighbors to report suspicious activity near the farm (the Fur Commission recommends baking them a pie).
*How to trick mink into returning to the farm once released.
*The type of sign the Fur Commission describes as "vital to successful AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act) charges".
Short note on fur farm security
Although the Fur Commission never expected this would be seen publicly, there is still a certain amount of posturing going on with this document, not evident to anyone who hasn't been on a fur farm. After visiting over 100 fur farms close up, I can say that almost NO fur farms employ the security measures promoted by this manual.
The 20-page document is divided into ten sections. I will break down highlights from the most interesting portions here.
Chapter two: Communications
If you've followed media coverage of ALF mink releases, you've noticed patterns that indicate fur farmers are reading from a script. They are, and this document proves it.
The manual gives a bullet-point list of talking points for fur farmers to use when speaking to the media. Prefacing this list, the authors give this stern instruction to fur farmers:
What follows is a virtual script for fur farmers to follow when speaking to the media. These talking points will be familiar to anyone who follows ALF media coverage. The following is lifted directly from the manual:
I left out the last item because it deserves a spotlight. With a not-so-subtle wink, and the most tongue-in-cheek tone possible, fur farmers speaking to the media are instructed to:
It is everything animal rights activists have suspected fur farmers say behind the scenes, laid bare: Fake an interest in animal welfare, pretend to care about animals, then snicker about your deception later when no one is looking.
Post-raid media relations: cont'd
The subject of communicating with the media is given even more space. The focus is imploring targeted fur farmers to not speak with the media themselves, and to allow a Fur Commission USA spokesperson to do the talking.
Why does is it recommended that the targeted farmer not speak with the media? Quote:
Any temporary media designee is instructed to lie, and tell the media the farmer "is just too busy 'rescuing the animals' to comment".
Fur farmers are also encouraged to build relationships with neighbors (who the authors admit can be "difficult"), so that they will call-in any suspicious activity around the farm.
Chapter Three: Deterring the Animal Liberation Front
To increase their chances of the ALF targeting another farm, the manual recommends one first step for deterring a raid:
The manual then outlines a security protocol to be used by fur farmers. I want to say again that after seeing many farms up close: almost no farms employ the security systems the Fur Commission recommends. Some of these recommendations are:
Farmers are again advised to use their neighbors to report suspicious activity:
Counter-surveillance for fur farmers
The manual recommends the following "counter-surveillance measures":
"No Trespassing" signs: According to the document: "'No Trespassing' signs are vital to successful prosecutions of Attempted Burglary, Criminal Trespassing, Breaking and Entering and AETA [Animal Enterprise Terrorism" charges." As reported on Animal Liberation Frontline last year, the Fur Commission designed the following sign, which threatens terrorism charges against trespassers:
Fake security cameras: The document suggests farmers who are unable to afford real surveillance cameras (which almost no farms have) use "dummy cameras" to deter animal liberators.
I can think of a couple reasons these are utterly futile as a deterrent. One, the ALF will nearly always wear masks during raids, so cameras are irrelevant. And two, with this document made public, the world now knows the many (if not most) cameras on fur farms are fake. Oh, and we also now know what they look like:
Chapter four: Physical Security
The chapter begins by admitting upfront: nothing will prevent a determined liberator from breaking into a fur farm.
It goes on to downplay the threat:
This chapter focuses primarily on fencing. Numerous fencing options for fur farmers are discussed and rated for their resistance to being cut or felled. The fence most highly recommended is one that is sunk into the ground at least one foot to "prevent tunneling".
Also noted: "Bolt-cutters are a standard tool of the opposition."
Chapter Five: Detecting Intruders
"If an attack occurs, it is vital that the breach is detected as soon as possible. The ability to respond to a break-in immediately can spell the difference between capturing the assailants and preventing a release, and losing thousands of animals."
The manual recommends several methods of detecting fur farm "breaches":
an alert staff working at the farm
silent and audible alarms
proper lighting (motion activated)
"a K9" (family dog)
neighbors (The guide actually states neighbors should be called on to capture fleeing fur farm raiders by blocking the road.)
On the subject of cameras, the manual states upfront:
The "most critical" tool in detecting fur farm raiders
What do fur farmers perceive is the single most important tool in detecting fur farm raiders? Here it is:
"Contact wires" are described as follows:
Motion sensors are another recommended method of detection.
Chapter Six: "What Fur Commission Can Do For You"
This chapter covers several security resources offered to fur farmers by the FCUSA.
Neighborhood Watch Report: Described as a massive dossier including, quote: "physical descriptions, vehicle descriptions and license numbers of suspected animal rights extremists seen in the vicinity of farms, as well as documented threats received by mail and email. The report goes back decades and is now over 200-pages long. It is regularly updated and distributed to law enforcement around the country."
Email listserves: Two email lists are described as existing to help fur farmers prevent ALF attacks. The "Netwatch" email service is "primarily designed for law enforcement and covers general environmental extremism and potential flashpoints, on a national basis." Second, the "Farm Security list... is focused more on a local and regional level, and primarily covers time sensitive, potential threats directed towards the U.S. mink rancher."
Security Assessments: The Fur Commission offers to send
its "director of security" to fur farms for an on-site security assessment.
Quote: "This assessment will include fencing, camera, and alarm evaluations,
as well as identifying likely tactics and targets of the
A "law enforcement liaison": The Fur Commission USA employs an ex-police officer to focus full-time on fur farm security. Quote:
Lastly: security product guide for fur farmers
The manual concludes with a list of recommended security devices for fur farms, a sample letter to give to local law enforcement (allowing them access to a fur farm to arrest trespassers when the owner is not present), and a list of animal rights websites that are "of most interest" to fur farmers. Animal Liberation Frontline is flattered to have made the top of the list, followed by:
This document is an invaluable and rarely-seen look into how animal abuse industries strategize against the Animal Liberation Front when they think we aren't looking. For the first time, we have an answer to the question of exactly what fur farmers are doing to prevent the ALF. And the answer is: not much.