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Victorian Parliament releases Animal Rights Activism report: On-the-spot fines for those who ‘invade’ farms

The report claims animal rights activists exploit animal welfare misinformation to gain public support for illegal actions, such as trespassing on farms. One example was the creation of the Aussie Farms Map.

ANDREW MILLER: ‘A Victorian Legislative Council committee has brought down its report into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian agriculture, with its chair saying it was highly supportive of the farm sector. Committee chair Northern Metropolitan Region Labor MP Nazih Elasmar said members had also criticised the illegal actions of animal rights activists.

“Our recommendations address the problems raised with us by people across the state and will help to build public confidence in an industry that is vital to Victoria and that has high standards of animal welfare,” Mr Elasmar said. “Public confidence is a key weapon against the misinformation spread by some activists. “Those animal rights activists who are engaging in illegal behaviour must stop”… The committee recommended proposed new biosecurity offences included an on-the-spot fine, similar to the NSW model, for non-compliance with biosecurity plans.

It also recommended the government consult with industry, unions and other relevant stakeholders and consider the implementation of closed-circuit television in Victorian abattoirs. Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the government had commenced work on improving biosecurity and the committee’s recommendations would inform that. She agreed that deterrents needed to strengthened. “I have been very firm in my view of illegal activities on farm, trespass is unacceptable,” Ms Symes said…

In the report, the Committee expressed concern about the level of misinformation spread by activists. regarding animal agriculture practices. It considered Agriculture Victoria ideally placed to correct this misinformation, allowing Victorians to be better informed about those matters. The report has also recommended strengthening Victoria’s biosecurity laws to address the risk of animal rights activists spreading pests and diseases at agriculture businesses… The committee was firm in its belief that there were strong maximum penalties, contained in legislation, such as the Summary Offences Act and Crimes Act… The government has six months to respond to any recommendations made by the committee’.  SOURCE…

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