Tough stance push against ‘agri-terror’

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
State member for Roe Peter Rundle accompanied Senator McKenzie to Katanning last Wednesday.
Camera IconState member for Roe Peter Rundle accompanied Senator McKenzie to Katanning last Wednesday. Credit: Michael Traill

Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie has called for State Governments to push tougher penalties against “agri-terrorists”.

Speaking to producers at the Katanning saleyards last Wednesday about how animal activism was affecting the agricultural industry, the Victorian Senator said public opinion was starting to shift against activists.

“In light of agri-terrorist attempts over the last week, that have actually shut down capital cities, (activists) want to see the end of our agricultural industries,” she said. “These people will not stop until they’ve shut down every dairy farmer, every beef farmer, every sheep farmer.

“These guys and girls are seriously not interested in a livestock industryan industry that underpins hundreds of thousands of people employed in regional communities just like Katanning all around the country.”

Several high-profile farm trespasses by animal activist and a protest against factory farming that brought Melbourne’s CBD to a two-hour halt last Monday has begun to turn the Australian public’s opinion against animal welfare groups, according to Ms McKenzie.

Because of this, she said she believed now was the time for State Governments across the country to introduce tougher legislation to deter would-be trespassers.

Ms McKenzie said she would like to see laws brought into Australia similar to American legislation — the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, or AETA.

Individuals can be imprisoned for a year under the AETA if they cause less than $10,000 damage or cause no injury in protest against animal enterprises. They can be sentenced to up to 20 years prison if they cause serious bodily injury or more than $1 million damage.

Attorney-General Christian Porter announced that if re-elected, the Morrison Government would introduce a new criminal offence for activists. The law would see activists jailed for up to a year if they used carriage services, such as social media, to disclose personal information and incite others to trespass on farmland and livestock facilities.

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