Government must act on illegal animal activism now

Opinion: Government must act on illegal animal activism now

Opinion
There were 15 recommendations outlined in the report, with the majority noting that activists do have an impact on farmers, their homes and businesses.

There were 15 recommendations outlined in the report, with the majority noting that activists do have an impact on farmers, their homes and businesses.

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Last week the report reviewing the impact animal activism has on Victorian agriculture was tabled in the state parliament.

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Last week the report reviewing the impact animal activism has on Victorian agriculture was tabled in the state parliament.

There were 15 recommendations outlined in the report, with the majority noting that activists do have an impact on farmers, their homes and businesses.

In the VFF's submission as well as public commentary, the VFF has called for the introduction of $1000 (or greater) on-the-spot-fines for any individual trespassing on a farm or agricultural enterprise.

Further, individuals can be fined up to $220,000 and corporations up to $400,000.

The report has recommended that the government adopt sanctions to counter illegal entry on farming properties.

The report has urged the government to amend the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994, with a view to make unauthorised access an offence.

This recommendation will lead to producers being required to implement a biosecurity management plan across their business.

Many of the recommendations in the report call for an increase in information sharing to improve transparency surrounding animal agriculture.

One of the recommendations in the report encourages the government to consider the need to codify public interest exemptions, however, the VFF cannot support this recommendation as there are already adequate provisions for members of the public to report suspicion of animal cruelty.

Allowing people to hide under the veil of "public interest" opens the door to vigilantism.

The government has six months to formally reply to the recommendations.

We will be advocating for illegal animal activism to be stamped out - farmers running legitimate businesses need to be protected.

  • David Jochinke is the VFF president.
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