Farm invaders to face on-the-spot fines
THERE will be a crackdown on animal rights activists who invade farms and meatworks, following more disruptive protests.
Before the end of the month, militant animal rights activists will face $652.75 fines.
These can be issued either on the spot, or later after review of evidence from the protest site.
The fines will be issued by police or biosecurity officers.
The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 is set to be amended to include this new penalty.
This will be aimed at animal activists who consider their cause above the law.
The move was fully endorsed by the Animal Industry Security Taskforce, comprising officials from the Department of Agriculture, police, AgForce and the Queensland Farmers Federation when they met last Thursday.
Minister for Police Mark Ryan said the new on-the-spot fines are a very welcome new measure for police in combating illegal and dangerous behaviour by animal activists.
"Those breaking the law will soon be hit hard financially," Mr Ryan said.
"A taskforce established by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and supported by Queensland Police is also putting processes in place to de-escalate these tense situations and to maintain the safety of everyone involved."
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the escalation of farm and meat-works invasions are unacceptable.
"As well as on-the-spot fines, these disruptive and illegal protesters could also face the courts and possible jail time on trespass charges, once affected landowners complain officially to police and evidence supports their arrests," Mr Furner said.
"We take animal welfare very seriously and so does an overwhelming majority of our agricultural businesses.
"Animal rights zealots invading farms are a real threat to biosecurity and are putting their lives and the lives of farmers, workers and indeed the animals they claim to care about at risk. If they behave in this way then they will pay the price."
Activists who move from location to location for multiple protests, will face being slapped with multiple $652.75 on-the-spot fines.
Five people have now been scheduled to face trespass charges in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on May 9, following a trespassing incident at a Millmerran property last month.
Initially charges were laid against a 29-year-old woman and 26-year-old man, both from Margate.
They were allegedly the main organisers of a protest and trespassing incident at a Bostock Road, Millmerran, feed-lot.
Investigations are ongoing.