Increasingly, animal rights extremists are turning their focus to agriculture, utilizing misleading undercover videos and multi-million dollar political campaigns in an effort to drive farmers and ranchers out of business. These highly edited images are distributed to the media to influence public opinion and for fundraising efforts. Often, they do not accurately reflect the animal care practices of today’s farms or ranches. To be clear: the ultimate objective of these groups is not to improve animal well-being but to promote their animal rights and vegan agenda while running farmers and ranchers out of business with legislation and bad press.

“In light of recent industry events,” said Rita Kourlis Samuelson, American Sheep Industry Association wool marketing director, “this is a good time for producers to review and address any liability concerns they might have in regard to their operation. Knowing who is on your farm or ranch and the purpose of their visit is one of the first measures to protecting your property. Holding employees and contractors to the highest animal care, handling and management techniques is also critical.

Farm and ranch security is a growing concern around the world. Agriculture producers are being forced to realize the potential for security threats and do what they can to protect themselves, their families, co-workers and the general public.

The U.S. sheep industry does not condone or support the actions of anyone that results in the abuse of sheep either intentionally or unintentionally. Rough handling of animals that might result in the injury of a sheep is an unacceptable maneuver during the shearing process or anytime when sheep are handled. Farmers and ranchers who raise sheep in the United States take great pride in the care they provide for their animals and do not excuse or defend the mistreatment or abuse of sheep either intentionally or unintentionally.

ASI’s Sheep Care Guide is an educational document for all sheep producers and their employees on proper care, handling and management of sheep. The Sheep Care Guide can be found on the ASI website at ASI also helped develop and has supported the International Wool and Textile Organization’s (IWTO) Sheep Welfare Guide.