The Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture is now winding up as the committee members consider the large body of evidence gathered from written submissions and public hearings.
The committee was asked to examine and report using the following parameters:
- the type and prevalence of unauthorised activity on Victorian farms and related industries, and the application of existing legislation;
- the workplace health and safety and biosecurity risks, and potential impacts of animal activist activity on Victorian farms, to Victoria’s economy and international reputation;
- animal activists’ compliance with the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994, Livestock Management Act 2010, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986;
- the civil or criminal liability of individuals and organisations who promote or organise participation in unauthorised animal activism activities;
- analyse the incidences and responses of other jurisdictions in Australia and internationally; and
- provide recommendations on how the Victorian Government and industry could improve protections for farmers’ privacy, businesses, and the integrity of our biosecurity system and animal welfare outcomes, whether through law reform or other measures.
The committee membership covers the wide spectrum of views on these issues.
The Australian Deer Association made a submission to the inquiry on the basis that many of the activists who engage in the most concerning illegal behavior on farms are the same people who actively seek to curtail legal hunting in the field. There can be no separation between hunting and farming in this regard and it is well arguable that anti-hunting activism has essentially acted as a “boot camp” for activists who are now engaging in illegal activity on private property.
We note that whilst the right to engage in peaceful protest should be protected and respected; that right should not extend to curtailing the legal activities of others in the exercise of one’s own intolerance.
The committee is due to report back to the Victorian Parliament on February 1, 2020.