Police Charge 11 Vegan Protestors For Trespassing On Queensland Farms
Eleven vegan protestors have been charged by police in Queensland with illegally trespassing on farms across the state.
The demonstrators are alleged to have infiltrated the properties in late March and April.
Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker, Drug and Serious Crime Group, State Crime Command, said: "The Queensland Police Service respects the right of people to protest in a peaceful manner, however we have a duty to ensure the safety of protesters, farm workers and property owners.
"Unauthorised protests in and around farmlands and industrial areas create significant personal and workplace safety risks.
"We will take enforcement action whenever necessary to ensure the safety of the community and to protect the rights of people to feel safe in their homes and at their place of work."
They could become some of the first people to be charged under new laws designed to stop protestors from entering farms unlawfully.
Protestors can now expect an on-the-spot fine of more than $600 if they're caught on someone else's land in Queensland. The laws were tightened after farmers were sick of having their properties raided by animal rights activists.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement: "We want our farmers to get on with their job, to be able to work in a stress-free environment and not have activists, who are coming mainly from interstate to Queensland, causing them distress, which has an impact on our export industry as well.
"I understand the stress that this issue is causing our farmers, our families. Last week, Minister Furner and I had the opportunity to talk directly to the Queensland Farmers' Federation about this important issue.
"I do not believe anyone would believe that it is acceptable for people to cause this distress to hardworking families who work hard on the land."
Concerns were raised when animal rights charity Aussie Farms published a map of all the meat processing facilities, horse racing tracks and showground pens, chicken and pig farms, sheep and cattle stations and fisheries in Australia.
As a result, data privacy legislation was introduced to ensure farmer's personal details weren't leaked onto the internet.
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