Farmers are the backbone of our rural communities. They feed and clothe the cities and provide valuable export income for our economy.

It is totally unacceptable that animal activists can, at will it seems, trespass, terrorise, threaten and torment farmers, their families and their animals.

Our farmers are running small businesses and are the lifeblood of many other local town businesses; they have no guaranteed income, unlike those on government guaranteed jobs or benefits; they are subject to the vagaries of weather and the volatility of domestic and international markets; they endure escalating and high fixed costs of rates, power, taxes and charges; poor electronic connectivity, road, rail and port infrastructure; a scarcity of a reliable and available workforce and high rates of mental health and suicide issues.

I will not tolerate any attack on the people who for the vast majority care more about their animals than anyone and who work extraordinary hours under difficult physical conditions to provide for their families and who are the first to help out others when there is a fire or some local crisis.

Recently we’ve seen activists stealing goats by placing them in a car and retaining them in houses wrapped in nappies; releasing 200 hens from their enclosure only to be savaged by dogs and foxes in the night; appearing in court and let off on a good behaviour bond but days later participating in a protest; disrupting businesses and commuters in the Melbourne CBD; chaining themselves to a conveyor inside an abattoir; and abusing café owners and staff until they forced its closure.

These militants are dangerous, committed and organised.

I have raised the issue of animal activist ‘terrorism’ in the Parliament with the Minister for Agriculture and the Attorney General because the Government response to thefts of animals and abuse of farmers is totally inadequate, even non-existent.

The Minister for Agriculture, provided a mere 55 word overdue response to my adjournment matter, stating that she has “encouraged… consideration of whether the charitable status of Aussie Farms should be revoked.”

The Attorney General has refrained from addressing the matter I raised with him regarding the necessity to increase penalties for trespass and theft to deter future perpetrators.

I have also launched on online survey at www.bevmcarthur.com/animal-activism for interested and concerned constituents. Please participate if you care about our rural communities and country way of life.

19 April 2019