The threat of animal activists and how the dairy industry should respond was passionately debated today at the 2019 United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) Conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
“Animal activists disrupt legal businesses, risk animal health by breaching biosecurity, and use force and intimidation in pursuit of their personal beliefs,” said Mr Paul Mumford, UDV President.
“The dairy industry must respond to the threat of farm invasions with a strong, coordinated strategy. It is of critical importance that we protect the safety and security of our farmers and our animals,” said Mr Mumford.
Superintendent Peter Greaney and Senior Sargent Simon Grant from Victoria Police spoke to Conference attendees about how Victoria Police is working behind the scenes to manage the threat of animal activists trespassing on farms and taking animals without permission, and advice on how farmers should respond.
UDV members voted unanimously for UDV to ‘lobby to ensure that harsher penalties are put in place to deter animal activists from partaking in activities that … put stock and farming families at risk’ and to ‘provide adequate information to members with regards to laws and the rights of farmers’.
“I’m glad this resolution was brought to Conference today. It shows how serious this issue is for our members and gives us a strong mandate to go forward with,” said Mr Mumford.
“We hope the inquiry into animal activists recently passed in the Victorian Parliament will strengthen the penalties for farm trespassers. We will ensure UDV is closely consulted during the inquiry so we can secure real outcomes for farmers.
“We will also continue to engage with Victoria Police and other stakeholders so we can provide our members with the best information on their legal rights.
“As Superintendent Greaney said, these animal activists aren’t going away. So to tackle this problem in the long term, agriculture needs to address consumer concerns by building greater knowledge about food and fibre production in Victoria, and the importance farmers place on animal health and welfare,” said Mr Mumford.
Paul Mumford, UDV President, 0439 790 469
Heather Smillie, VFF Stakeholder, Media & Communications Officer, 0400 874 589