THE federal Liberal Party has vowed to take a hard line on animal activism if it is returned to power, pledging to make it against the law to use a carriage service (such as the internet) to disclose personal information to incite trespass on agricultural land where it could cause commercial detriment.
The pledge comes in the wake of several wellpublicised protests last week – including one that shut down a major intersection in Melbourne’s CBD – by vegan activists who oppose certain practices on Australian livestock farms.
Activists have set up a website showing the location of farms and abattoirs across Australia, and have allegedly stolen animals from some farms.
Corangamite federal member Sarah Henderson welcomed last week’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which she said would give farmers in her electorate “protection from extreme activists targeting their homes, businesses and families”.
“Australians rely on our Corangamite farmers and the agricultural industry every day and they should not be subjected to the illegal invasion of their property and their privacy.
“There must be consequences for this extreme behaviour.
“The use of personal information like names and addresses to incite people to break the law is just not on and we need to take strong measures to ensure these activists feel the full force of the law.”
The Liberals say the new offences – which will carry charges of up to 12 months’ jail – will have “appropriate exemptions such as those for bona-fide journalists and whistleblowers”.
“Our farm and agriculture sector is a $60 billion industry, employing thousands of Australians in rural and regional areas, and we can’t afford to put this at risk because of the actions of these extremists,” Ms Henderson said.
“I know that the overwhelming majority of farmers and primary producers do the right thing and care for their animals humanely, and they shouldn’t face this type of law-breaking and deliberate targeting.
“This demonstrates that the Morrison Government is prepared to stand up and protect our farmers and agriculture industry, and ensure that extreme activists are called to account for their actions.”