Australian militant vegans who facilitate farm invasions can now be jailed for up to five years under tough new federal laws. Inciting trespass, theft and damage on Australian farms are now punishable crimes, as reported by news.com.au.
Both chambers of parliament last Thursday agreed to the new legislation amidst passionate and quite strongly felt debates.
The Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the measures were a robust response to activist maps which are posted online giving out farmers’ details. This was in the government’s opinion intolerable.
“It’s not a badge of honour to walk around and say ‘Yay I’ve been locked up for sticking it to the man, sticking it to Australian farmers’ – you’re actually a criminal,” McKenzie told parliament.
Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation party, described farm invaders as “morons, ratbags and idiots”.
“They are actually killing animals. They are actually seeing the death of animals,” she told parliament.
Senator Hanson claimed that the activists can kill animals. She referred to an invasion of a Queensland chicken farm during which protesters dropped the protective shutters, with the loud bang resulting in hundreds of birds dying.
Wrong side of history
The Greens opposed the bill arguing that the major political parties are on the ‘wrong side of history’ for cracking down on vegans, seeing it as a ‘gag’ to protect large corporations from scrutiny.
Greens senator Jordon Steele-John argued that the law was unnecessary since the agriculture industry had repeatedly failed to meet community expectations on animal welfare. “It seeks to impose upon activists penalties that exceed the penalties which are to be faced by those who abuse animals in the most horrendous way,” Senator Steele-John said.
The government crack down has been a long time coming, in the aftermath of the vegan activism in April which caused a worldwide stir placing the issue of animal rights fairly and squarely onto the Australian political agenda. During that wave of activism vegans raided abattoirs in Queensland and New South Wales marching across farmers’ land chaining themselves to machinery and breaking into cattle sheds.
The activism was spurred by the first anniversary of the Australian documentary Dominion which had not received sufficient attention in the Australian media in the opinion of the protesters.
Australia has an Animal Justice Party who has had electoral success. Emma Hurst, was recently elected to the NSW parliament. Her inaugural address to the legislative body has won her many admirers