News

Government acts to bolster farm trespass laws

Grain Central, July 4, 2019

THE Federal Government has moved to protect landholders from the unlawful actions of activists by introducing new offences for the incitement of trespass, property damage, or theft on agricultural land.

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said incidents of trespass by animal activists, such as those that occurred earlier this year, had impacted on Australian farmers and their businesses, prompting the stronger action.

“There must be consequences for this unacceptable behaviour. Farmers should not be subjected to the illegal invasion of their property and their privacy,” he said.

The Bill introduces serious criminal penalties, with offenders facing up to five years’ imprisonment.

It includes exemptions for journalists and whistle-blowers who expose instances of animal cruelty also covers other private agricultural businesses such as fishers and foresters.

Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, said the Bill sent a clear message to animal activists that if they used the personal information of our family farmers to incite trespass then they wou be risking jail, once the Bill passed.

She said the government had also called on the state and territory governments to increase penalties to deter animal rights activists from trespass.

NSW Farmers president James Jackson has welcomed the move by the government today to introduce legislation to create a new offence to hold animal activists to account.

“Farmers have been terrorised by the criminal actions this year, with their farms being invaded and safety of their animals, families and employees jeopardised,” Mr Jackson said.

“The Government has shown decisive and fast action to ensure any further criminal actions are appropriately penalised.”

The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill aims to criminalise the use of a carriage service with the intention of inciting another person to trespass to commit other property offences on agricultural land.

The new offence comes with penalties of up to five years imprisonment, and follows Government moves to prescribe activist group Aussie Farms under the Privacy Act – exposing it to potential penalties of up to $2.1 million.

Sources: Federal Government, NSW Farmers

 

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  1. Kim Dutton, July 8, 2019

    So the exemptions are for people who expose animal cruelty.

    1. All animal agriculture practices are cruel.
    2. Animal rights activists expose the cruelty.
    3. No animal farmers’ families have been hurt ot threatened with being hurt by whistleblowers.
    4. Farmers have threatened to hurt animal rights activists with guns and fists.
    5. All standard cruel animal agriculture practices are legal.

  2. Katrina Love, July 7, 2019

    If only the government exhibited the same conviction and fervour in addressing and prosecuting acts of cruelty to and abuse of animals by those who profit from enslaving, commodifying, exploiting, harming and slaughtering them, as they exhibit in pursuing and vilifying those who expose that cruelty and abuse by way of covert investigations or non-violent and non-confrontational occupation or trespass.

    Whilst there is talk of upwards of $320k fines and lengthy prison sentences for perpetrators of peaceful occupation and non-violent direct action, the following are actual acts of terror committed against helpless, innocent animals and the corresponding penalties applied:

    A “farmer” was convicted of cruelty to 4,000 hens so severe that they all had to be euthanised; he was fined the equivalent of $1.62 per hen for that prolonged pain and suffering (no prison time):

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-30/nsw-egg-farmer-hit-with-five-year-ban-following-hen-cruelty/11060210

    Another “farmer” was fined $5,000 for cutting open two ewes (“Caesarian”) without veterinary assistance or anaesthetic, and sewing them up with dental floss (no prison time):

    https://www.sheepcentral.com/victorian-sheep-farmer-fined-5000-for-illegal-ewe-caesareans/

    A man found guilty of intentionally running down a mob of emus, killing 16 of them and injuring dog knows how many more, was sentenced to 42 days in prison:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-09/man-who-tried-to-run-down-emus-sentenced-to-42-days-jail/11097056

    A “farm” worker found guilty of poisoning 406 protected, native, wedge-tailed eagles was jailed for 14 days and fined the equivalent of $6.15 per eagle – they all would have died horrific deaths:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-24/man-poisoned-wedge-tailed-eagles-in-gippsland-jailed/10298426

    Surely if an action of trespass onto a commercial production or slaughter facility (let’s get this straight – NO ONE is “invading people’s homes) in which no one is harmed and there is no property damage can receive 12 months jail term and fines in the area of hundreds of thousands of dollars, an act which results in the actual loss of hundreds of lives and often prolonged and exacerbated suffering, should receive at least one year imprisonment per life taken.

    Katrina Love
    National Vice President
    WA State Convenor
    Animal Justice Party

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