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Farm invasions: Victorian senator defends animal activists’ right to trespass

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Victorian Senator Janet Rice has defended the right of vegan vigilantes to invade farms.

The Greens senator’s comments come after the New South Wales government introduced tough new laws to target farm trespassing earlier this week.

In NSW, farm invaders can now be slapped with a $1000 on-the-spot fine and repeat offenders can be fined up to $220,000.

Ms Rice said she disagrees with the harsh new penalties and civil disobedience has a place in society.

“Unjust laws have only been changed in so many instances — women’s rights, black rights, stopping the damming of the Franklin River, for example — because of civil disobedience,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“A lot of times it gets to the point where animal cruelty is being uncovered through secret cameras.

“We know how important they have been for uncovering illegal puppy farms, live bating in the greyhound industry.”

The Victorian senator said farm invasion is justified if trespassers have “good suspicions that there are illegal practices, cruel practices, going on”.

“We haven’t got enough resources going into say, for example, RSPCA offices or animal welfare offices, and that’s why people feel they need to take this into their own hands,” she said.

But Ms Rice acknowledged that many farmers treat their animals fairly and shouldn’t have to live in fear.

“The vast majority of farmers absolutely care for their animals … and they deserve to feel safe and secure,” she said.

A string of invasions by animal rights activists earlier this year upset many farmers and forced the closure of a Gippsland cafe.

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NSW introduces tough new laws to target trespassing ‘animal terrorists’, push for Victoria to do the same