Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has called for calm following a violent confrontation between a dairy farmer and vegan activists south of Perth in Harvey, Western Australia.
The farmer discharged his shotgun away from the activists who were filming calves from a car in front of his house.
“I call for all to remain calm and respectful,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Differences between sections of the vegan and farm communities will not be solved with confrontation.
“I’m genuinely concerned there will be an incident in which someone be seriously hurt or worse."
Rights of farmers became an increasingly urgent issue in January when animal activist group Aussie Farms released a map detailing the locations of farms, feedlots and processing facilities across Australia.
Mr Littleproud said Aussie Farms' map is a risk to farmers safety and reiterated his call for the registered charity to remove the map from the internet.
"It’s an attack map for activists. It’s creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety on farms around Australia. I’m not sure if it contributed to this incident but it certainly will create more like it," Mr Littleproud said.
Last week a decision in a Queensland court highlighted how weak trespass laws were failing, across the country, to deter activists.
“The example in Caloundra Magistrates Court in Queensland last week where a serial farm invader got only a $200 fine for her third offence trespassing on farms and had no conviction recorded sends a terrible message in my opinion," Mr Littleproud said.
Agriculture ministers across the country are have joined farmers in calling for tougher legal protections from animal activist trespassers, and last week included the issue as an urgent matter in discussions at the Agriculture Ministers Forum.
However, when questioned on his response the ministers' calls, federal Attorney General Christian Porter said there are already “substantial protections” in place.
“Australian law currently provides substantial avenues for individuals to seek redress for interferences with their privacy – for example torts such as trespass, nuisance, defamation and breach of confidence,” Mr Porter said.
Despite Mr Porter's rebuff, Mr Littleproud is focused on getting tougher laws in state jurisdictions.
“People have a right to live their lives without harassment. The activist section of the vegan community should make their case in the public debate and in the Parliament, not by intruding on farmers’ privacy, property and lives, he said.
"Farmers have a right to farm without being harassed. These people are just producing our food and should be left alone to do so.
“Family farms are people’s homes. Children live in these homes. Farmers are good people just trying to live their lives, raise their kids and feed our nation."
This publication is campaigning to #protectourfarms and create new laws giving individuals rights to sue for privacy breaches to create more options to prosecute against trespass.
#protectourfarms, is also calling for Aussie Farms to be stripped of its charity status and for tougher farm trespass laws.