'Extreme idiots': MP takes aim at vegan vigilantes
"UN-AUSTRALIAN" and "appalling" was how Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien labelled the vegan vigilante behaviour yesterday.
He was disgusted by the series of extreme animal activist protests around the country, action that previously sent a Sunshine Coast piggery into lock down.
Just months after more than 100 animal activists stormed Glasshouse Country Farms at Beerburrum, hundreds of protesters blocked a major Melbourne intersection, while others stormed multiple meat work facilities in Queensland and New South Wales.
"While I celebrate people's right to protest, these aren't protesters," Mr O'Brien said.
"These people are acting in a criminal way so let's call it out for what it is, let's not treat this lightly," Mr O'Brien said.
"These are not free-loving, tree-hugging protesters. These are people who have made a decision to invade the properties of other Australians and put those Australian businesses at risk.
"That's not fair. It's un-Australian and should not be tolerated."
Dozens of people were arrested after the nationwide action by vegan activists, which Mr O'Brien (pictured) said had put family businesses at risk.
"If you want to protest, protest, but invading people's properties is not a protest it's an illegal act," he said.
"These protesters have trespassed on their properties and driven fear into the heart of good, solid Australian farmers - people that put food on the table for all of us.
"I think the balance has been tipped and the protesters have acted atrociously.
"I'm appalled at how some farming families have been treated."
A vegan activist who participated in the Beerburrum piggery protest, who declined to be named due to fear for her own personal safety, said they were not "terrorists", but just trying to bring attention to their beliefs.
"The content the public sees is not 'propaganda', and these protesters are not 'terrorists' as they are portrayed," she said.
"Protesters don't want to be pushing boundaries or entering these places, they want to bring urgent attention to this matter so it can stop.
"We are trying to show the truth so people can make informed choices because 95 per cent of animals on our supermarket shelves come from intensive farms and the breeding and living conditions are just not acceptable."
She said the protesters would do what they needed to ensure they got their point across.
"These industries are not being transparent with consumers and that is all we are trying to achieve - seek transparency," she said.
"Unfortunately, without the brave activists, the stories of their (animals') suffering would never be told and we would see no change.
"At what point do we stand up and say what is happening here is wrong.
"If intensive farming is the only sustainable way to feed our population, then we need to reassess things."
Is protesting an effective way to get a message across?
This poll ended on 09 May 2019.
It can be if done in the right way.
No, people don't listen to that kind of activism.
Yes, how else would people expose things?
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Despite Mr O'Brien referring to yesterday's protests as un-Australian, she said the "current state of industrialised farming is not Australian".
"Most people are against animal cruelty and would not be complicit with this," the activist said.
"I only became involved in activism last year. Until then I simply just chose not to consume animal products.
"It wasn't until I watched Dominion, a comprehensive documentary that uncovers the ways in which our animals are treated here in Australia for food, clothing and entertainment that I knew I had to be doing more."
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said the protesters trespassing on properties were a "bunch of extreme idiots" who were doing more harm than good.
"These people are an extreme group of activists who are putting both the animals that they fought to protect, themselves and other people at great risk," he said.
"This is a planned attack on agriculture, a planned attack on small businesses that employ local people and keep our economy running.
"Just because these people own farms, it's not OK to beat up on them.
"How would you feel if you had a coffee shop or a cafe and people decided it was OK to break into that in the middle of the night because they are against coffee?
"These people are the most ethical businesses, the most environmentally conscious businesses, they practise high levels of animal welfare and this bunch of extreme idiots go along putting everyone at risk."