Australia’s peak farm body has slammed radical animal rights activists following a spate of illegal and intimidating encounters with law-abiding industry participants, and joined calls for the Government to exclude them from policy making processes.
The call follows evidence from the pork industry in yesterday’s Senate Estimates hearings, with Chief Executive of Australian Pork Limited, Margo Andrae, detailing alarming examples of recent protest activity.
“What we heard yesterday is completely unacceptable and it needs to be called out,” NFF Vice President David Jochinke said.
The examples given by Ms Andrae to yesterday’s hearing include protesters disguised as tradesmen gaining access to her organisation’s office, setting up cameras and frightening staff – tactics Ms Andrae said farmers had been subjected to for decades.
“Everyone should have the right to feel safe in their workplace,” Mr Jochinke said.
“These people are doing their jobs and have done nothing wrong. They don’t deserve that sort of harassment.
“Having a different view to someone doesn’t give you the right to flout the law or intimidate people.”
Mr Jochinke called on the Federal Government to publicly and proactively condemn the people behind this intimidation campaign, and commit to not engaging with them.
“The perpetrators of this campaign can’t just go around frightening people and breaking the law completely unchecked. They are not genuine voices in the animal welfare discussion and simply seek to destroy the livelihoods of Australian farming families.
“We’d like to see a clear condemnation by the Government, and a public statement that it won’t engage with groups which employ these sorts of tactics.
“People who ignore the rights of others by harassing them at their place of work, shouldn’t have a right to be heard by policymakers.
“This Government should make that clear to help stem the problem.”