Call for tougher trespass laws after dozens of animal rights activists invade feedlot

Updated March 25, 2019 20:02:47

The Federal Agriculture Minister and cattle industry leaders say police need greater powers to stop animal rights activists from trespassing on farms, after more than 100 activists stormed a feedlot in Southern Queensland over the weekend.

Key points:

  • Police attending the Millmerran protest saw no need to arrest animal rights protesters
  • Trespass laws offered no more than “slaps on the wrist” to animal activists, the Minister said
  • Stock losses are a reality faced by all farmers and feedlot operators, according to the cattle industry

The activists arrived en masse at the Lemontree Feedlot near Millmerran, west of Toowoomba on Saturday, and walked onto the land despite the property owner’s objections, taking photos and drone vision of cattle.

In video and images of the event shared by Brisbane Animal Save and Animal Liberation Photography, the activists are shown climbing through a fence and overwhelming the farmer.

Warning: this story contains a graphic image of a dead cow.

With tens of thousands of cattle held in yards, the activists spread throughout the feedlot, capturing vision of at least three dead cattle lying in muddy pens.

“We understand that some of the images, or images of deceased cattle are distressing for members of the community,” Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) president Bryce Camm said.

“Sadly, illness and the loss of livestock is a reality that all farmers and feedlot operators deal with on a daily basis.”

Mr Camm said the operators of the Lemontree Feedlot had humanely euthanised the cattle that morning, just prior to the activists arriving.

“The event has been immensely distressing for that family and their staff, and for the cattle involved as well,” Mr Camm said.

It is the second time in a month the intensive cattle industry in Southern Queensland has been targeted.

Last month, the Wonga Plains feedlot at Bowenville near Toowoomba, owned by Mr Camm, was the subject of another video claiming mistreatment of cattle.

Police have yet to charge anyone over the latest protest.

‘Slaps on wrist’ aren’t working, Littleproud says

But in response to the weekend action, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has called for state trespass laws to be strengthened.

“The slaps on the wrist being handed out to animal activists invading family farms is encouraging them to escalate their efforts,” Mr Littleproud said.

“A real deterrent is needed before someone gets seriously hurt or killed. There are children living on these family farms.”

Inspector Graeme Paine from Dalby police said officers attending saw no need to make arrests.

“The actions of the protesters at the time didn’t warrant physical arrest from the police to address any public safety or any disruption concerns at the time,” Inspector Paine said.

His advice to property owners confronting potential trespassers was to clearly “withdraw consent” for the people to enter their property.

“Certainly in Queensland I would encourage anyone that’s going through that process to try and record it,” Inspector Paine said.

Meanwhile, activist leaders are showing no intention of changing tactics.

“The animals do not need better animal welfare standards … or conditions … they need to be liberated. They need people to live vegan,” activist Leah Doellinger said in a post on the Animal Liberation Photography Facebook page.

“The message we are sharing is simple: animals are here with us, not for us.

“Animals lives are their right and what is happening to them is unjust, needless violence. There is no humane way to exploit and kill someone.”

Brisbane Animal Save, Animal Liberation Photography and leaders of those groups have been contacted for comment.

Topics: activism-and-lobbying, animal-welfare, livestock, laws, federal—state-issues, federal-parliament, millmerran-4357, toowoomba-4350, brisbane-4000, qld

First posted March 25, 2019 19:45:36

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