Animal Activists Will Now Be Fined Up To $440,000 If They Trespass On Farms
New South Wales politicians have taken a bold approach against people and groups who trespass on farms under the guise of animal activism.
Legislators have introduced a bill that would mean a person would cop a $220,000 fine if they invade a farm; the penalty will double if the culprit is a group or corporation.
There will also be on-the-spot fines of $1,000 under the Biosecurity Act.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said: "Your time threatening the agriculture industry and hardworking farmers is over.
"NSW will have the toughest laws anywhere in Australia for people that illegally trespass onto farmers' properties.
"We've seen a disturbing increase in vigilante behaviour where individuals and groups have taken upon themselves to trespass onto farmers' land and threaten the biosecurity on the property.
"We want to send the strongest possible message to people to think again.
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"This is just the first part of a broader package of reforms the Government is working on, and jail time will be included in further legislation we are looking at.
There has been an increase over the last 12 months in protests across Australia where activists storm into a farm and try to 'liberate' animals or 'expose' the harmful practices done on the property.
Some people chain themselves to machinery and others simply walk around trying to photograph animals.
It often leaves the owners and operators distressed and they claim the animals don't appreciate the sudden influx of foot traffic either.
Deputy premier John Barilaro said: "Vigilantes who are entering our farmers' property illegally are nothing short of domestic terrorists - our farmers have had a gutful.
"They don't deserve, nor have time, to be dealing with illegal trespass and vile harassment from a bunch of virtue-signalling thugs."
The Prime Minister said the federal government is organising its own legislation to tackle this issue and will table it in parliament within the next two weeks, according to ABC News.
It's expected part of the new federal legislation will target people who 'incite destructive break-ins' and punishments could go as high as five years behind bars.
Aussie Farms, a group that published the names, numbers and addresses of farms around the country, is upset over the NSW legislation, saying that 'biosecurity' is being used as the scapegoat to stop their message from getting out to the masses.
They added that there hasn't been any biosecurity breach during these trespass incidents.
Featured Image Credit: Animal Activist Collective