Website asks activists to shame Southern Downs farmers
HUNDREDS of farmers across the Southern Downs could become the targets of harassment from militant vegans after their names, addresses and phone numbers were published on an animal cruelty website.
It lists the personal information of small, family operations along with large feedlots and abattoirs.
The website is run by Aussie Farms, an animal rights charity, and claims it is, "dedicated to ending commercialised animal abuse and exploitation in Australian animal agriculture facilities by increasing industry transparency and educating the public about modern farming and slaughtering practices.”
It said the meat and dairy industries relied on secrecy and deception, using marketing ploys such as "humanely slaughtered” and "free range” to justify profiting off the pain of animals.
"We believe that between all of us, we have tonnes of visual evidence of animal cruelty and exploitation, a lot of which might just be gathering dust because it doesn't fit any particular campaigns, or otherwise isn't getting out there to the public who need to see it,” the website said.
Junabee dairy farmer Graham Hoffman is listed on the map and thinks it is a silly idea.
"Tell them to get lost,” he said.
Mr Hoffman has farmed in the area for 50 years and during that time has witnessed big changes in how farmers are treated, but overall he thinks they are respected.
"Most people have been been very thankful,” he said.
"We've all got to eat.
"You don't mind a bit of criticism but it has to be right.”
The website also lists his neighbours, including pig farms run by the Hemmings family, Reilly Pastoral Co and Ken Hughes.
Each sit within a few kilometres of Mr Hoffman's front door.
The health of his dairy herd is Mr Hoffman's lifeblood and without well-cared for cattle his dairy would run dry.
"We look after our cattle pretty well,” he said.
There are concerns the website will prompt vegans to trespass on family farms as they chase photos and video.
Federal Agriculture Minster David Littleproud said this was not acceptable.
"This website is irresponsible at best,” Mr Littleproud said.
"Putting the locations of farms online could be creating an attack map for activists. This will potentially result in illegal behaviour by activists.
"Farms are people's homes, not just their businesses. Some farmers have already complained the website claims they run businesses, which they do not.
Mr Littleproud is concerned about risks to farm biosecurity from activists who trespass and that information they collect will cause undue harm.
"Australian producers are some of the cleanest and greenest in the world, are proud of the work they do and are a key pillar of the Australian economy,” he said.
"Our farmers play an important role in feeding and clothing people across the world. They deserve to be thanked, not have their addresses published and possibly be harassed in their own homes.”