/Animal activists protest across the country, storm abattoirs, block Melbournes Flinders St

Animal activists protest across the country, storm abattoirs, block Melbournes Flinders St

Updated

April 08, 2019 08:26:55

Animal rights activists have launched protests across the country, with a group of people disrupting traffic in Melbourne’s Flinders Street and blocking tram routes.

Early this morning, about 20 people had chained themselves to equipment at an abattoir west of Brisbane and had infiltrated a Goulburn abattoir in New South Wales, and another in Laverton in Melbourne.

Key points:

  • Animal activists have descended on abattoirs across the country
  • The group says it’s to mark the one year anniversary of the Dominion documentary
  • It comes as the Queensland Government yesterday announced tougher penalties for activists who trespass on farms

The protests have been organised to mark the one-year anniversary of the release of the documentary Dominion, which looks into practices employed daily on Australian livestock farms.

Police officers were on scene at both the Queensland and New South Wales abattoirs, with Goulburn police arresting nine protestors and currently in the process of charging them with trespass.

The Queensland Government yesterday announced that animal activists who invaded farms would face on-the-spot fines, under tough new regulations to combat any future risks to biosecurity.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the penalties would be “severe” and “to the maximum” available, but was unable to give a figure.

Last month more than 100 activists descended on a feedlot near Millmerran in Southern Queensland, taking photos and drone vision of cattle.

Animal activists who trespass on Queensland farms can already face penalties of up to a year’s imprisonment.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said it was a “matter of urgency”, but stopped short of giving an amount for the fines and a timeframe of when they’d be introduced.

“I’ve had a gutful of this behaviour,” he said.

“This will provide a greater access for people to be issued with on-the-spot fines for illegal activities, trespassing and breaching biosecurity on our farms properties.

“They are putting our farms at risk, harassing farmers, they are also leading to incursions and possibilities of huge biosecurity risk.”

New joint taskforce to target animal activism

A joint taskforce will also be set up between Queensland Police Service’s intelligence unit and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to gather information around animal activism.

“A lot of these unlawful, disruptive protests are being planned on social media, so putting the additional resources into that intelligence gathering will ensure that we’ve got the right people in the right place at the right time,” Police Minister Mark Ryan said.

“It’s about making sure we keep ahead of the game — but also making sure we have that added disincentive for people to participate in unlawful disruptive activities.”

Mr Ryan said people could protest lawfully and peacefully, but it was unacceptable to invade a farm.

“If you do so lawfully and peacefully, you won’t get in trouble. But as soon as you cross the line, our police will be there and expect the full force of the law,” he said.

He said he had been told police officers were monitoring plans for further protests and “appropriate resources” were in place.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander welcomed the announcement but said it was not strong enough.

“It’s long overdue and we’re worried that it’s not heavy enough,” he said.

“We have to sent a clear message to these activists…that they have the right to protest but they must stay within the bounds of the law as well.”

Topics:

government-and-politics,

activism-and-lobbying,

courts-and-trials,

law-crime-and-justice,

beef-cattle,

millmerran-4357,

qld,

australia,

toowoomba-4350,

brisbane-4000

First posted

April 08, 2019 06:49:50