Farm-invading activists face new penalties

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a crackdown on extreme activists who invade farms.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a crackdown on extreme activists who invade farms.

Many farmers in the Yass Valley are pleased with the increased penalties for farm-invading activists, according to NSW Farmers Yass branch chair Carolina Merriman.

Although Ms Merriman said no one in the Yass Valley had reported trespassing to her, she had heard of local farmers who had unknown vehicles stopping at their front gates.

Also in April, nine animal activists were charged after trespassing and chaining themselves to machinery inside an abattoir in Goulburn.

"Farmers have been concerned that these activists think they have the right to turn up to their farm without any acknowledgement," Ms Merriman said.

"There was a Landline hour special on activists who keep the animals they take from farmers in their own backyard with a fence, food and water. What is the difference to farmers doing that on their farms?"

"Our farmers are the backbone to Australia. Farmers have enough on their hands with drought, floods, fires, the stock market constantly going up and down and the every day, every hour constant care they provide for their livestock and land. These activists need to know that trespassing is against the law and the law will support the farmers.

"This is affecting farming families and the whole community that gets terrorised by the activists."

Extreme vegan activists who incite farm invasions will face criminal penalties under laws the Morrison government is bringing to parliament.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Scott Morrison put the activists on par with terrorist foreign fighters in terms of urgency to deal with them.

Legislation will be introduced to parliament's lower house on Thursday after Mr Morrison promised people who trespass on farms would face up to one year in jail or fines as high as $12,600.

The issue exploded earlier in the year after Aussie Farms published details and addresses of producers in an online map.

A series of farm invasions aimed at highlighting cruelty in agriculture prompted the coalition to talk tough against the activist group.

Aussie Farms refused to take the page down, arguing it was promoting transparency in agriculture and fighting animal welfare abuses.

Amid a bitter impasse between farmers and vegan protesters, the Morrison government promised to crack down on "green-collar" criminals.

Australian Associated Press