Have your say on activism, VFF urges

The animal rights activism Parliamentary inquiry is underway

Farm Online News
ANIMAL ACTIVISM: Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke and Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes address the media, after the recent animal activists actions, in Melbourne.

ANIMAL ACTIVISM: Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke and Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes address the media, after the recent animal activists actions, in Melbourne.


Farmers urged to have a say on animal activism.


The Victorian Farmers Federation is calling on its members to voice their concerns - and pose solutions - to animal activism.

Submissions can now be presented to the Parliamentary Inquiry, 'The Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture'.

VFF president David Jochinke said submissions need not need be long, or in great detail.

"One or two sentences are all we need for people to voice their frustrations with the current situation, and pose potential solutions," Mr Jochinke said.

"The pendulum has well and truly swung too far the wrong way, and I believe we will get some good take up."

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Terms of reference

The inquiry is examining the "effectiveness of legislation and other measures to prevent and deter activities of unauthorised persons on agricultural and associated industries."

"This is your chance to tell the government how animal rights activism could or has already affected you and your farm, the animal supply chain, and the agricultural industry," Mr Jochinke said.

"Every farmer and member of the agricultural industry can contribute to this inquiry.

"You don't need to have experienced a direct activism threat to make a submission."

Animal rights activists and their supporters would make submissions to the inquiry.

"We cannot allow their opinions to drown out those of farmers," Mr Jochinke said.

Submissions, in the form of letters or emails, can contain thoughts, opinions, experiences and recommendations.

The VFF said the inquiry was likely to consider the following issues:

. The type and prevalence of unauthorised activity on Victorian farms and related industries, and the application of existing legislation.

. The workplace health and safety and biosecurity risks, and potential impacts of animal activist activity on Victorian farms, to Victoria's economy and international reputation.

. Animal activists' compliance with the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994, Livestock Management Act 2010, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986;

. The civil or criminal liability of individuals and organisations, which promote or organise participation in unauthorised animal activism activities.

The inquiry is expected to provide recommendations on how the government and industry can improve protections for farmers' privacy, businesses and the integrity of biosecurity and animal welfare outcomes, whether through law reform or other measures.

Changes needed

Mr Jochinke said he hoped the inquiry would inform not only legislation but also some of the legal processes around trespass.

"We do have some legal processes that could be utilised more, to enable better farm protection," he said.

The VFF also wanted to ensure all aspects of animal activism were addressed.

"We also want to make sure we are covering all the different avenues - it's not just personal property effects, it's the emotional and mental affect, it has as well.

"Some of the social media posts and trolling that have gone on are quite atrocious," Mr Jochinke said..

Read more: Gippy Goat Cafe closes down following activist attacks

There said there was obviously a divide between consumers and food producers, despite the interest in such things as cooking shows, which may not be addressed by the inquiry.

"There's another story to be told, and we would really like to be part of that conversation," he said.

And Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria president Graham Howell also urged his members to put in a submission.

"They want to know the impact it has had on the transporter's side of the business," Mr Howell said.

"There should be plenty of submissions because there have been plenty of people impacted.

"I'm sure there will be some members who feel very strongly about this."

Mr Howell said protestors had been known to block vehicles, stand where they were out of sight of the driver, or make intimidatory comments.

"They climb on the sides of the stock crates when they are not supposed to," Mr Howell said.

"It's very intimidating."

Submissions close on Friday, August 2.

This story first appeared on Stock & Land.


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