Farmers: ‘They want a martyr for their cause’

Farmers: ‘They want a martyr for their cause’


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Queensland feedlot owner Sherrill Stivano, Roma, is furious at having details of her feedlot operation revealed on the Aussie Farms website.

Queensland feedlot owner Sherrill Stivano, Roma, is furious at having details of her feedlot operation revealed on the Aussie Farms website.

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Queensland feedlot owners speak out as part of our #protectourfarms campaign.

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Queensland feedlot operators, Justin and Sherrill Stivano, believe there needs to be wider recognition that the act of sharing information via the Aussie Farms website is indeed terrorism, meant to instill fear and intimidate families going about their everyday business.

They’ve backed strong words from the National Farmers’ Federation president, Fiona Simson, who said farmers were being ‘targeted for terrorist activity’ with the release of the personal details of farmers on the Aussie Farms website.

Mr and Mrs Stivano and their three small children live on the same property as their feedlot, which is clearly identified on the Aussie Farms map. The website calls on the public to upload photos and videos from properties to expose animal cruelty.

“We are at risk because they believe they have a right to encroach upon someone else’s business and property,” she said.

“They are acts of terror. They may only be terrorising a single family or a business but they are still acts that are intended to intimidate.

“I think the whole thing is going to end badly and I think that’s what they want - a martyr for their cause.”

“I think the whole thing is going to end badly and I think that’s what they want - a martyr for their cause.”

Mrs Stivano was reluctant to reveal the size of her family’s feedlot but did confirm the figure on the website was incorrect.

“It needs to be our choice what information on business details that we put in the public domain,” she said.

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Mrs Stivano believes some of the information published on Aussie Farms website has been drawn from government agencies such as the National Pollutant Inventory.

“It’s part of our reporting responsibilities to share that information and we’re happy to do so but it looks as though it has been used against us,” she said.

A former Queensland Rural Woman of the Year, Mrs Stivano said an unfortunate consequence of the whole saga was that many farmers would become less inclined to share information about businesses at a time when farmers needed to communicate more with the public.

Queensland feedlot owner Sherrill Stivano, Roma, is furious at having details of her feedlot operation revealed on the Aussie Farms website.

Queensland feedlot owner Sherrill Stivano, Roma, is furious at having details of her feedlot operation revealed on the Aussie Farms website.

She’s also become more mistrustful of people coming onto their property and feedlot.

“There are so many concerns that vigilante activities raise from biosecurity to OH&S risks.

“While we want to be open and transparent, we as landowners are also liable for injuries sustained on our properties, and unauthorised incursions by people with limited experience in handling livestock – who are responsible for numerous deaths and injuries to people in any given year - leaves us open for injury claims.

“Farmers have traditionally been a very open, friendly group of people but groups like this make you suspicious of people’s motives.

“I wouldn’t like to be a feedlot operator in close proximity to an urban where you have to employ people that you don’t know.

Farmonline and its associated agricultural mastheads, including Queensland Country Life, have launched a campaign to drive better protections for farmers and others in the livestock supply chain.

Farmonline and its associated agricultural mastheads, including Queensland Country Life, have launched a campaign to drive better protections for farmers and others in the livestock supply chain.

“Footage or photos could be taken and shared out of context.”

Mrs Stivano said Australian beef producers were world leaders when it came to animal welfare but said any footage could be made to look ‘dire’ when taken out of context. 

The story Farmers: ‘They want a martyr for their cause’ first appeared on Farm Online.

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