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Biosecurity plans to include trespass risk
on an agricultural property being exposed to zoonoses. The department also dis- cussedtheincreasedstress on animals arising from unauthorised entry, such as porcine stress syndrome in
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Vivien Kite detailed “strict biosecurity protocols” that reduce the chance of disease outbreaks and contamination in chicken processing, including ex- clusion periods.
ordinary citizens who have put themselves in harm’s way to do right thing.”
Dr Kite concluded, “The act of putting some pro- tective clothing on does a little bit but it doesn’t do enough.”
Animal welfare and transparency
Dr Kite reflected on the impacts of avian influenza on the poultry sector in 2013, saying, “We, as an industry, are still paying back the Commonwealth for our share of the cost of that.”
3.54 A number of sub- mitters argued that ex- posure of animal cruelty is in the public interest, including ARTK, which submitted, “The bill there- fore has broader ramifica- tions, including having a chilling effect on reporting and public debate, and dis- couraging whistle-blowers and sources of stories of this kind.”
“It’s certainly not a desir- able approach to law re- form, we would agree with that, but in the absence of having any kind of na- tional framework, it’s all that seems to be working at the moment.”
“They were multimillion dollar exercises to actually eradicate.
3.55 The Animal De- fenders Office said the bill “unjustifiably undermines freedom of expression” be- cause the public is “over- whelmingly concerned about the mistreatment of farmed animals,” and has a right to know about farming practices.
3.64 The RSPCA also commented on the broader implications of the bill for
“Fortunately, we haven’t had one recently, but it just demonstrates that it can happen.
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Not all animal activists enter properties unlawfully to get their message across, however those who do run the risk of harming the animals they’re trying to protect. Photo: Animal Activist Collective
3.63 The RSPCA said that, in the absence of a formalised process of in- cremental improvement to animal welfare standards, “...We have to rely on ac- tivism, on media exposes to bring about the public interest and the public concern that motivates the law reform and the policy change.”
 “It’s a highly transmis- sible disease.
 “It’s carried on people.
“It’s something we don’t want to have happen again.”
3.56 If passed, the An- imal Defenders Office sug- gested the bill may in fact lead more people to “take up the fight for animals,” because they will perceive the legislation as an at- tempt by government to cover up practices of abuse.
3.24 The AVA agreed that animal activists are unlikely to understand the complex and varied bios- ecurity procedures in place across food production in- dustries.
3.25 Data from a survey of its members by Aus- tralian Pork included fig- ures on self‐reported inci- dence of ‘disease outbreak’ resulting from activist ac- tivity.
3.57 The Animal Protec- tors Alliance suggested the bill “can only be to pre- vent the exposure of cruel farming practices to the Australian public.”
The results indicated that around 41 percent of re- spondents had experienced an activist raid on their property, around 9 percent had suffered financial loss as a result and, of that 9 percent, around 10 percent reported the loss was re- lated to ‘disease outbreak’.
This view was echoed in a number of other submis- sions, including that from the Humane Society Inter- national Australia.
3.26 Mr Pollard provided a personal account about the distress caused to his pigs by activist incursion, “Activists raided our place in the middle of the night and took some footage and still pictures and quite a bit of it was on video...”
3.58 A number of other submitters contended that, even if the bill has not been drafted with the intention to prevent exposure of abuses, it will nevertheless have a “chilling effect” on the reporting and exposure of cruel farming practices.
“These activists were there for quite some time with cameras and lights – I’ve seen this footage my- self – and stirred the ani- mals up to a point where it became quite sensational footage, because the sows thought they were going to get fed and they weren’t.”
3.59 HSI Australia sub- mitted that the bill “may have severe consequences for the perception of an- imal welfare advocates and may pave the way for further restrictions to farm animal welfare advocacy activities in the future.”
3.27 Australian Pork similarly gave evidence about a number of cases in which activist trespass had reportedly caused distress to pigs and resulted in live- stock losses, stillbirths and abortions in pregnant sows, a broken leg in one sow that had to be euthanised and piglets at a Victorian piggery drowning in ef- fluent ponds.
3.60 Animal activist groups argued that prac- tices which are cruel to farm animals are generally lawful in Australia, and ac- tivist trespass is the only way they get exposed and ultimately changed for the better.
3.28 Aussie Farms re- futed these examples, saying it did not believe any evidence had been provided to substantiate claims that activist activity had led to animal cruelty or piglets drowning.
3.61 Aussie Farms Inc de- scribed activist trespass as an “unfortunate necessity” under the current system, and explained that activists do not “want” to go onto farms, but feel compelled because of inadequacies in Australia’s animal welfare monitoring.
3.29 The Department of Agriculture explained the importance of strong bios- ecurity measures to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of infectious dis- eases and reflected on the risk of a person trespassing
3.62 The Animal Protec- tors Alliance stated, “... Every change in attitude to the treatment of farm animals – whether it be battery cages, sow stalls, cattle feedlots or live an- imal exports – that has oc- curred in Australia in the past 40 years would not have been possible without the evidence brought out about these practices by
Australian Pork Newspaper, November 2022 – Page 15
Farming groups robustly disagreed with this propo- sition.

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