The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and industry members have called on the state government to increase the punishments for activists trespassing on farmers’ properties after an animal rights charity published the location and contact details of farms around Australia.
The Aussie Farms Map accuses intensive animal farmers and abattoirs of animal exploitation and encourages people to submit information, photos, video and documents relating to the addresses disclosed on the interactive website.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said Queensland farmers adhered to high animal welfare standards and condemned Aussie Farmers and their radical and unjustified actions which invade farmers’ privacy, threaten the welfare of their animals, pose unacceptable risks to their businesses and have implications for food security.
“For many farmers, their property is their business, their workplace and their family home, which as a result of the map, is now a target for intrusion by animal activists,” Mr Armitage said.
“Over the past few months, there have been a number of incidents of animal activists entering Queensland dairy, pig and poultry farms without permission, disrupting and creating unacceptable risks to their businesses.”
“In one incident, activists forced their way onto a poultry processing facility and shut down production, causing more than $50,000 in business losses and number of birds to die in the process.”
“The presence of unapproved people in farm environments also risks Australia’s high biosecurity standards, with the potential to spread bacteria and disease and threaten the economy and environment.”
Mr Armitage said QFF and member industries had been working with the Queensland Government for some time to better address these issues, but this new tool for activists now made government action urgent.
“People are welcome to their opinions but this behaviour is neither appropriate nor helpful and the government must act to ensure farmers can continue feeding, clothing and growing amenity for the world,” Mr Armitage said.
“This latest act invades basic privacy rights, will likely fuel a debate that is based on emotive ideology rather than fact, and see actions that threaten the welfare of animals and pose unacceptable risks to farming businesses.”
“It is time that governments took a harder stand against the actions of animal activists and ensure that the legal protections and the punishments reflect the crimes.”