Fri, April 13th, 2012 - 5:22 am - By Gordon Basichis
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You could be hiring an industrial terrorist. Someone who wants to do harm to your company, specifically, and your industry in general. Someone who believes they have higher minded purposes and moral leverage, so they can expose all the professed evil doing within your business environment.
Here is an interesting concept…you are in an industrial sector related to animals, cosmetics, whatever, where controversial testing and practices leave you, the employer, open to added scrutiny and embarrassment. You hire someone, thinking they are a good fit for the job at hand. They tell you how eager they are to be there, how much they want the job. And then you see their secret video tape on the Internet or on the news where your practices are exposed for all to see. Not good. Very costly.
So now, according to an article on Bloomberg Business Week… ” Undercover investigations of animal abuse and unsanitary farm conditions would be outlawed in eight states, including Iowa and New York, under an expanding effort by legislators who say the exposes malign livestock industries.
Montana, North Dakota and Kansas have already passed “ag gag” laws to thwart whistle-blowers, who have targeted Tyson Foods Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC chicken suppliers. Iowa and New York are debating similar legislation, as is Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah.
Measures in those states, backed by Monsanto Co. and other agriculture companies, would halt activists from using deceptive practices to target producers in the $74 billion-a-year U.S. beef industry, or the $45 billion poultry business, as well as other businesses. Animal-rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States contend food safety will be compromised if abusive and unsanitary practices go unexposed.”
So no more side show/freak show secret videos where you can’t turn your head away from the ugly portrayal of mass food processing. According to the article, such exposes have a notable effect on the decline of demand for certain foods. Who wants to eat chicken, after seeing the still live chicken ripped apart by a slicing machine that was just out of alignment? Or so the belief. There have been closures of slaughter houses. There have been recalls of massive amounts of beef.
According to the article…”A proposal introduced last month in Nebraska would require cruel treatment to be reported within 12 hours, preventing those who go undercover of the time it takes to amass evidence, according to animal rights groups.”
Clearly, one person’s industrial terrorist is another person’s hero. Exposure of cruelty in slaughter houses and packing plants have led to more humane practices. Companies such as Chipotle and MacDonald’s have demanded their suppliers practice better treatment of the animals, including outside pens and gestation sectors that do not seem overly cruel.
But law makers and industry leaders claim the videos and claims that go with them are one side and misleading. The whistle blowers are not being fair with their depictions. But then that is the purpose of whistle blowers.
The thing is an ounce of prevention may be worth the proverbial pound of cure. Background checks will often reveal an employment candidate’s affiliations and practices that may be a red flag for hiring. Reference Verification may prove enlightening.
Morally and ethically, it’s a tough call. Animal rights groups certainly see it their way. Livestock companies offer a different perspective. At the end of the day, there are two sides of the issue and nine different perspectives on this entire issue. But like other things that are highly charged and controversial, people will see it as they wish to.
However, the prospective employee may have on objective, one very different from the potential employer. The employer has something else in mind. Tough call. As for the laws being passed or being proposed, we will have to see how it all plays out.