Commenting on the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019, which is currently before the Upper House, AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson said “the legislation is another step in the right direction, but a nationalised approach to animal welfare is still needed”.
“This Bill is the latest in a suite of legislative changes designed to protect legally operating agribusinesses from the illegal actions of activists,” he said.
The new Agricultural Protection Bill is expected to introduce offences for people who use a carriage service to trespass, theft or unlawful damage on agricultural lands.
“We’re very happy to see this, and in particular I am pleased to see that this proposed legislation includes protections not just for farmers but for abattoirs and saleyards too – though I do note that retailers seem to be missing from the list and certainly we have seen butchers targeted by activists in recent months.”
In June of this year, a Brisbane butcher shop was targeted by anti-meat activists.
This latest legislative update comes on the back of new trespass laws in New South Wales.
Hutchinson added that while the legislative changes are very positive, AMIC’s members are keen to see governments at all levels commit to a coordinated approach that meets the needs of the entire supply chain.
“The fact is that activism seems to be on the rise and we need to be managing this issue from multiple angles, but in a way that is coordinated and focused on the big picture. A harmonised national standard for animal welfare would be a very good place to start. I’d love to see state and territory governments with the federal government, make this happen, and to ensure our entire supply chain from gate to plate is represented.”