March 25, 2019
AgForce has called for animal activists who illegally enter feedlots and farms to be subject to the full force of the law, saying it was only a matter of time before “a dangerous stunt” ended in serious injury or death.
The plea came after the latest incident, where 100 activists yelling slogans entered a Millmerran feedlot and dairy at the weekend.
AgForce said the farmer’s family and livestock had been terrified by the incident.
CEO Michael Guerin said that, far from the caring, peace-loving image the protesters liked to portray, they were violent bullies who relied on threats, intimidation and terror to push their agenda.
“Harsh words and condemnation mean nothing to the thugs perpetrating these acts,” Mr Guerin said.
“Peaceful protest is one thing, but trespassing on to someone else’s property, frightening children and animals, breaching biosecurity measures that are there to protect everyone – this is criminal activity we’re witnessing and it’s going unpunished.
“My biggest concern is that it’s going to take someone getting seriously hurt or even killed before governments increase the penalties to fit the seriousness of the crime and the courts start enforcing them.
“I know I’d feel threatened by the sort of mob action that took place on the weekend if they came over my back fence. I’d fear for the safety of my family. These are not the actions of a peaceful, law-abiding group.”
Mr Guerin said he respected a person’s right not to eat meat, but that shouldn’t extend to being able to commit acts of violence and terror against those who do, or against those who produce it.
He said recent fines handed out for trespassing onto family farms – $1 for an incident in Victoria and $200 to a Sunshine Coast offender who trespassed at a piggery – made a mockery of the seriousness of the situation.
“Farmers are good, kind-hearted people just going about their daily business of feeding Australian families,” Mr Guerin said.
“They treat their livestock humanely and they look after the health of their animals.
“It was only a week ago that activists in Victoria vowed to continue trespassing on to family farms, and now this happens in Maranoa in Queensland.
“Clearly these extremists don’t feel deterred. How could you with those sorts of fines?
“We need to get as serious about protecting the lives and livelihoods of the farmers who produce the food we eat every day as these terrorists are about terrifying them.
“Governments have to take steps now to put an end to this escalating action before it’s too late.”