For the past two weeks, Aussie Farms and other animal activist groups had been threatening to hold widespread protests and demonstrations and yesterday made good on that threat. In Queensland, an abattoir and one dairy farm was visited by the group.
The demonstrators’ signs said that these were peaceful protests. That they may not have resorted to active violence is neither here nor there. Their very presence in such numbers was enough to cause concern.
These groups swarm over properties, ignore requests of being asked to leave, terrify the livestock in the yards and harass farmers, their family and staff.
The calmness and restraint shown by those who were attacked should be praised. Farmers across Australia spent an anxious weekend on high alert expecting to be targeted by the groups.
Like most Australians, we believe that everyone has the right to their opinion and to follow their beliefs and that people also have the right to peacefully protest so long as they obey the law. What we cannot agree with or tolerate, are persons who believe that only their opinions and beliefs are valid and who are prepared to undertake illegal and often dangerous activities to make their point. And we were not alone.
The demonstrations were designed to gain public sympathy for the vegan movement and to supposedly show inhumane practices of intensive farming. From the footage shown yesterday, the demonstrations did anything but what they were intended.
Any initial sympathy and support by the average Australian soon turned to annoyance and outrage as the demonstrators overstepped their mark.
Not only did the demonstrators trespass and damage property, they also disrupted peak hour in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD. Using a high traffic area may have given the activists the public attention they craved, but their actions backfired when emergency services had to be re-routed due to the demonstrator’s vehicles blocking access points and commuters were made late.
The Queensland state government last week, started the process of toughening up trespass laws to protect farmers and businesses. While the rules that have were announced are a start, they need to ensure that privacy and property is protected without farmers having to wait until after the damage is done and they need to ensure that farmers can protect themselves without having to wait for authorities to intercede.
Yesterday’s public reaction to these demonstrations does not mean that vegans don’t have a place in our society or a right to voice their beliefs; but it does mean that people will not accept being bullied or shamed into changing their ideas.
QDO Vice President Matt Trace