The anarchic view that ‘one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws’ is one that many animal rights activists use to justify trespassing on farmers properties and wilfully disrupting and creating unacceptable risks to businesses.
Animal rights charity Aussie Farmers has taken this hard-line view, publishing the location and contact details of farmers around Australia. The group has accused intensive animal farmers and abattoirs of animal exploitation and is encouraging people to submit information, photos, video and documents relating to the addresses disclosed on the interactive website. These radical and unjustified actions invade farmers’ privacy, threaten the welfare of their animals, pose unacceptable risks to their businesses and have implications for Australian food security.
Recently there have been several incidents of animal activists entering Queensland dairy, pig and poultry farms without permission, causing much distress to these farmers and their animals. In April last year, 100 animal rights activists forced entry into a farrowing house at a Sunshine Coast piggery. A few months ago, 80 protesters raided a Mt Cotton chicken processing facility causing more than $50,000 in business losses and number of birds to die in the process. A few weeks ago, activists trespassed on a dairy farm south of Brisbane, and the next protest could be only days away. Besides the emotional and financial toll on these farm businesses, the biosecurity risks to the whole sector are immense.
QFF and member industries have been working with the Queensland Government for some time to better address these issues, but this new tool for activists has now made government action urgent. For many farmers, their property is their business, their workplace and their family home and 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. Disobeying ‘unjust laws’ is still breaking the law.