January 24, 2019
A website publishing the location of piggeries, feedlots, abattoirs – and even small family farms – has sparked outrage in the agriculture community across Australia.
The interactive website, which incorporates data collected by volunteers overlaid on Google maps, has been published by an animal rights group.
It also encourages people to submit anonymous information, including photos and videos, relating to the addresses listed.
The LNP has described it as an an “attack map” and a “hit list” for activists to target family farms.
There has also been criticism that some of the data is out of date, listing businesses which are no longer operating.
In the South Burnett, a string of piggeries, dairies, feedlots and Nanango racecourse have been listed.
“This website is simply a ‘hit-list’ for animal activists,” Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett said.
“It enables extremists looking for their next target and encourages trespassing, biosecurity breaches and acts of industrial sabotage.
“Let me be very clear – people have a right to protest, but no one is above the law.
“It is simply unacceptable that a fringe group which believes animals should not be owned by humans is trying to terrorise farmers. Their activities endanger both humans and animals.
“This has all gone too far. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Queensland farmers should not be held to ransom for a fringe animal extremist group.
“We cannot allow this militant and extreme minority to hold our hard-working farmers and Queenslanders working through the agricultural supply chain to ransom.
“If the Palaszczuk Labor Government supports farmers, it will take action and move laws that protect farmers’ privacy and the rights of businesses contributing to our regional economy.
“It’s time to support our farmers and hold these fringe activists to account.”
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the website was “irresponsible at best” and said it would have no real outcomes for animal welfare.
“Putting the locations of farms online could be creating an attack map,” he said.
“This will potentially result in illegal behaviour by activists.
“Farms are people’s homes, not just their businesses.
“Some farmers have already complained the website claims they run businesses which they do not.
“Further, we don’t know if the footage posted on this website is actually from the farm it is attributed to.
“Content such as graphic images or video can be uploaded and attached to any farm by anonymous users.
“This potentially encourages activists to trespass and worse after being misled about the practices on that farm.
“Trespass also has the potential to cause significant biosecurity issues that ironically could lead to the death of the animal.”
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has called on the State Government to increase the punishments for activists trespassing on farms in the wake of the publication.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said radical and unjustified actions by activists invaded farmers’ privacy, threatened the welfare of their animals, posed unacceptable risks to their businesses and had 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 on to a poultry processing facility and shut down production, causing more than $50,000 in business losses and numbers of birds to die in the process.”
Mr Armitage said the QFF had been working with the State Government for some time to better address these issues, but this new tool for activists now made government action urgent.
The National Farmers’ Federation has recommended the following action:
If you find images or other media linked to your property that may be the result of trespassing, you should refer the page to the police, via Crime Stoppers
A spokesman for the activist group behind the website, Chris Delforce, told the ABC it was not the group’s intention to get people to trespass however he encouraged people to drive past and take photos from the road.
“We’re certainly not encouraging anyone to break the law to get material,” he said.
He said it would remove contact details of farmers, if requested.