Australia gives extra supports to farmers facing biosecurity threats from trespassers

The Victorian Government will continue to back farmers and protect biosecurity with strict enforcement of on-the-spot fines for those caught trespassing onto farms in the name of animal activism.
calendar icon 5 June 2020
clock icon 3 minute read

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes tabled the Government’s response to the Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture in parliament on 4 June, after considering the recommendations published in February.

Minister Symes said:

“Our farmers and agricultural businesses should be free to do their work without fear of being targeted by animal activist groups, who put hard working farming families, biosecurity and the animals they purport to protect at risk.”

“These recommendations are not just about deterrence, but also education – the public deserve to know just how hard farmers and agricultural businesses work to keep their animals safe and well looked after.”

The Inquiry’s findings identified ways to further strengthen approaches to animal welfare and biosecurity, to build and maintain public confidence in agriculture.

The Government’s response supports 13 of the 15 recommendations in full, one in principle and did not support one recommendation.

Recommendations supported include incorporating on-the-spot fines for biosecurity breaches caused by trespassers in legislation. The Government will introduce this legislation with a view to making fines for this behaviour among the heaviest in Australia.

Other supported recommendations include working with farmers in developing biosecurity management plans and actions on animal welfare complaints for better public education, and the consideration of implementing closed-circuit cameras in abattoirs.

The Government is already acting to strengthen animal welfare in Victoria through several initiatives, including the modernisation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (POCTA) regulations.

The Inquiry was conducted by the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee in 2019 following several illegal activities in the name of animal activism.

It was informed by 506 submissions, seven days of hearings held across country Victoria and Melbourne, and three site visits by committee members.

The Government is committed to maintaining Victoria’s high level of biosecurity. The 2019/20 Victorian Budget included a $142.5 million boost to our biosecurity system – the largest investment of its type in the history of the state.

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