‘Militant’ animal activists on notice

Zach RelphThe West Australian
Brunswick dairy farmer Michael Partridge is applauding the bolstered Federal laws addressing animal activism.
Camera IconBrunswick dairy farmer Michael Partridge is applauding the bolstered Federal laws addressing animal activism. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Beefed up laws to jail “militant vegan activists” for invading agricultural operations are being welcomed by WA farmers, confident it will deter online platforms from inciting trespass.

The Federal Government last week introduced the bolstered regulations to imprison animal activists for up to five years for using farmers’ personal information to encourage on-farm invasions.

Brunswick dairy farmer Michael Partridge was among the State’s producers championing the law, after he was thrust into the centre of WA’s intensifying animal activism earlier this year when a calf was allegedly stolen from his property.

The WAFarmers dairy section president said the law, which the State’s peak farming group and National Farmers’ Federation both lobbied for, would allow farmers and their families to feel safe.

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“Our farms are our homes and our workplaces, so I feel comfortable that the Federal Government has made these steps,” he said.

“The animal activism was snowballing and the Harvey community was put under a lot of pressure — it’s good that it has now settled down.”

The new Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019, passed in the Lower and Upper Houses, could result in vegan activists facing up to five years jail for inciting on-farm trespass.

It comes after online platform Aussie Farms — which publishes the information of thousands of Australian farms, abattoirs, fisheries and feedlots — was launched in January.

Federal Agricultural Minister Bridget McKenzie said farmers should not have to deal with activists’ trespass activity, harassment and intimidation.

“The time has come for activists to understand that you can’t just descend on someone’s place of work and home, interfere with their business and steal their animals and think that you can get away with it,” she said.

Liberal Member for O’Connor and Katanning farmer Rick Wilson echoed Senator McKenzie’s comments and said protection for primary producers was important.

“Militant animal activists have invaded farms across the country trespassing, threatening and harassing farming families,” he said.

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