Big Fines For Animal Rights Activists Trespassing On Farms
Animal rights activists who trespass on farms and abattoirs during protests will be slapped with fines of hundreds of dollars under regulation changes that will take effect in days.
Fines of more than $600 will be issued by police or biosecurity officers as part of a Queensland state government crackdown on a spate of protests that began last year.
The government announced on Sunday that the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 will be amended to include the penalty for those considered to be a threat to biosecurity and animal and worker welfare.
Activists could also face trespass charges and potentially jail time, but only after farmers and business owners make a complaint to police.
"We take animal welfare very seriously and so does an overwhelming majority of our agricultural businesses," Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said.
The protests began late last year when animal rights activists allegedly entered dairy, pig and poultry farms without permission.
That action has continued along with protests in other states, leading Mr Furner to claim activists might have imported foot-and-mouth disease from Indonesia.
The activists say Australians need to wake up to the horror and cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industries.
A number of people have been charged with trespass as police investigate incidents across the state's southeast.
A joint task force of police and government officials is working on strategies to de-escalate protests safely.
Animal rights charity Aussie Farms published the locations and contact details of Australian farming and animal-related properties in January.
It maps meat processing facilities, horse racing tracks and showground pens, chicken and pig farms, sheep and cattle stations and fisheries.
Privacy laws were changed this month to potentially expose Aussie Farms' website to significant penalties for publishing farmers' addresses and contact details.