Police are concerned by activists behaviour and repercussions

Helen Walker
By Helen Walker
Updated April 15 2019 - 5:19am, first published April 5 2019 - 2:00am
Govt and law enforcement needs to act against animal activists

INDUSTRY leaders are calling for tougher biosecurity laws to protect Queensland farmers amid planned animal activist farm invasions.

Queensland's current Biosecurity Act 2015 is due for review and many believe regulations should be strengthened to protect farmers and their businesses from malicious animal extremists.

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No arrests have been made under the Biosecurity Act for the past four years, with vegan activists trespassing onto private property and harassing family farmers with virtual legal impunity.

A trespass offence in Queensland currently carries a penalty of up to one year's imprisonment or a maximum fine of $2611. 

Govt and law enforcement needs to act against animal activists

The penalties in Western Australia are the toughest in the nation, with the maximum penalty for trespass was 12 months imprisonment and a $12,000 fine which is seen as a 'very real deterrent' to activists. 

Major and Organised Crime (Rural) southern area coordinator acting Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Jackson said the Queensland Police Service was sparing no resources in investigating and prosecuting anyone who breaks the law.  

"In light of the suggested action by Aussie Farms Dominion anniversary rally set for next Monday we can assure any person who lives on a farm or at a feedlot that the police will respond to protesters or incursion," Sgt Jackson said.

"These people wants us to change our behaviour and we are playing into their hands by being apprehensive. 

"We are all concerned by this and the repercussions." 

The Queensland Farmers' Federation has renewed calls for governments and law enforcement to increase and effectively implement punishments for animal activists trespassing on farmers' properties.

QFF President Stuart Armitage said Queensland farmers adhered to world leading animal welfare standards and condemned animal activists for their radical and unjustified actions which invade farmers' privacy, threaten the welfare of their animals, pose unacceptable risks to their businesses and have implications for food security.

"For many farmers, their property is their business, their workplace and their family home. As the frequency of these incidents increase, farmers are unable to operate their businesses and go about their lives for fear of being the next animal activist target," Mr Armitage said.

Mr Armitage said QFF and member industries had been constructively working with the Queensland Government for a long time to better address these issues, but progress on an effective response package had been too slow.

The Opposition this week demanded the State Government take action to protect law-abiding farmers ahead of the planned 'day of action' this Monday.

LNP Agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said Labor had to stop turning a blind eye to illegal property invasions and the intimidation of farmers and their employees.

"It is an absolute disgrace that 120 animal extremists were able to invade a Darling Downs feedlot  two weeks without any repercussions from the state at all," Mr Perrett said.

Helen Walker

Helen Walker

Toowoomba-based Journalist

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