Farmer group pre­sents fines idea

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Vic­to­ria’s peak farm­ing group has pre­sented a list of farm-tres­pass fines it be­lieves should be in­tro­duced, to an In­quiry into the Im­pact of An­i­mal Rights Ac­tivism.

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent and Wim­mera farmer David Jochinke asked for tres­pass penal­ties of $220,000 for in­di­vid­u­als and $400,000 for or­gan­i­sa­tions and $1000 on-the-spot fines.

Mr Jochinke said there was a need for greater tres­pass penal­ties based on in­ci­dents in­volv­ing ac­tivists.

“Ear­lier this year, more than 70 ac­tivists stormed the Gippy Goat Café, in­ti­mated staff, en­tered stock yards, and re­peat­edly stole live­stock,” he said.

“The ring­leader of this group re­ceived a grand to­tal of two $1 fines. An­other ac­tivist was found guilty of theft but re­ceived zero penal­ties from the court.

“The pur­pose of the In­quiry is to de­ter­mine if cur­rent laws are ef­fec­tive in pre­vent­ing and de­ter­ring ac­tivists from tres­pass­ing on farms. How could they be ef­fec­tive when the courts are hand­ing out such piti­ful penal­ties?

“By their own ad­mis­sion, ac­tivists wil­fully defy the law with­out fear of con­se­quences. They con­tinue to in­vade fam­ily farms and even re­peat­edly at­tack the same farm over a se­ries of weeks.”

Mr Jochinke said tougher laws were re­quired be­cause tres­pass on farm prop­er­ties pre­sented par­tic­u­lar risks that did not ex­ist in other work­places.

“There are risks to per­sonal safety, but also an­i­mal wel­fare, biose­cu­rity and public health,” he said.

“Most im­por­tantly, farm tres­pass is akin to home in­va­sion. Farms are not only a place of work but are the homes of our farm­ing fam­i­lies.

“Af­ter hear­ing the shock­ing sto­ries of farm­ing fam­i­lies ha­rassed by ac­tivists, I hope Par­lia­ment will have no doubt in their minds - we need tougher laws to pro­tect our farm­ing fam­i­lies and de­ter in­vaders.” For more on farm tres­pass, see page 39.

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