VIDEO taken from inside the piggery raided by 68 animal rights activists last week shows a heated confrontation with protesters intimidating staff by saying “we’re going to keep exploiting you”.
Four minutes of video footage obtained by Fairfax Media shows the initial moment when workers at the farm facility on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast enter the farrowing shed, where a sit-in occurred over several hours and eventually led to 25 arrests, following police negotiations.
Activists dressed in black can be seen greeting one of the workers as the door is opened, initially in a friendly manner saying “good morning” and “we’re non-violent” as a man speaking with an Italian accent questions their reasons for being inside the shed.
He asks a female activist to stop filming him, and tries to explain the risks of their trespass protest to the livestock in their care - but the exchange rapidly escalates into a confrontational and largely one-sided exchange of moral harassment.
She accuses the piggery worker of not caring for the animals which he rejects, as the activist railroads the professional animal handler’s alternative point of view.
“We’re here for the animals; we’re here for their suffering,” the female animal rights activist says.
“You would not want to live that way.
“I don’t care – we don’t need to eat the animals.
“You’re a cruel person to do this to them and we’re here to make a stand for these mothers and their babies.
“We’re going to exploit what you’re doing here and we’re going to keep exploiting you.
“You should be ashamed of yourself.
“We’re all proud of ourselves for being here.
“Poor you – you have no heart.”
The worker finally reaches the end of his tether saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about; shut your mouth”.
The activists were asked to leave the piggery but said they would be waiting for the “cops” and the media, to arrive.
The owner of Glasshouse Country Farms Gary McGuire was also hit by an activist break-in before Christmas where two activists were charged by police with trespass and stealing.
He spoke to Fairfax Media at length about the incident last week that he says was linked to seeking publicity for the screening of an amateur vegan documentary in Brisbane the night before.
He said the activists told him they weren’t going to leave the piggery after being discovered at 7.30am “so I went and rang the police”.
“I have a manager and he is an Italian guy and he gets worked up about things so I had to make sure he didn’t continue arguing with them, so they didn’t have more video footage to run with,” he said.
“We basically left them in the shed and went around and did whatever else we could until they left.
“About 40 of them also turned up at the gate then with loud speakers and signs and that is not too far from the shed.
“The staff could see them from the shed as they were attending to their chores and they were chanting at the staff, saying ‘there is no such thing as humane slaughter’ and ‘let the media in’.
“The whole thing was a bit surreal to be dealing with people in the shed and then people at the front gate yelling things out through loud speakers.”
Mr McGuire said there was no reasoning with the activists, despite the threat they had posed to animals and staff; in particular through biosecurity breaches.
“If the animal is produced for human consumption or for human pleasure they are totally against it and they’re protesting all the time, at different events,” he said.
“At Christmas time at David Jones in the Queen Street Mall (Brisbane) they were protesting against them using a couple of Reindeers for Christmas.
“They don’t really care who it is; they will just protest against the use of animals.”
But Mr McGuire said the protests also had negative consequences for the animals that professional livestock handlers are employed to care for and manage, every day.
“The sows probably went hungry for a few hours and there were some litters that had piglet overload because no one knew what was happening,” he said.
“I did see one photo (taken by activists) of a piglet being born in a pile of manure behind the sow, which if the girls (piggery staff) had been in there, they would have been able to clean up.
“But I wasn’t going to make my girls go in there and have to do it while these people were filming them and being in the way.”
Mr McGuire said the activists would not have been able to take and publish the photo of a piglet in manure if they weren’t in the farrowing shed to start with, allowing his staff to tend to their every-day animal husbandry practices, before the birth took place.
He said statements made by the activists on social media and in other forums indicated they wanted to shut down the entire livestock production industry not just his farm.
“Their aim is to just keep pounding us until my staff leave or get sick of it or anyone else feels too intimidated to work there,” he said.
“I’m sure it’s all part of their agenda.
“It will be in the back of my staff’s mind what is going to happen next.
“They will probably come back again.
“I was not going to do anything, but people need to know what’s happening on the outside.”
Mr McGuire said the trespassers can’t be allowed to “get away with it” and laws needed strengthening, to act as a “deterrent” because currently they’re “inadequate”.
“If they’re caught on the premises or caught invading the premises there needs to be a deterrent like an on the spot fine of at least a few thousand dollars to make them think twice about doing it,” he said.
“If they bring a disease in it will be disastrous because a lot of pigs will suffer or die and given the economic state of the industry, people may not have a job and the farm might close down.
“They are all possible outcomes of all the activists’ actions.
“I think we are a bit of a soft target for these activists because they flew in from Tasmania, they flew in from Victoria, and they can get on the train at the airport and travel 30 to 40 minutes and get off at the train stop and then it’s just 2 kilometres to get to our farm.
“They can walk down the road and be in our shed, stay in there for five or six hours and then get back on the train again and fly back to Victoria or wherever, on the same day.
“It’s very easy for them.”
Activists involved in the protest have also made claims on social media that they also stole pigs from the farrowing shed after the protest cleared, which Mr McGuire said had been brought to police attention.
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