Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says farmers should sue animal activists. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says farmers should sue animal activists. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

PM calls on farmers to sue animal activists

SCOTT Morrison has encouraged farmers to sue animal ­activists by giving them Commonwealth resources as "green-collar criminals" face losing their charity status.

Dramatically upping the war against activists storming farms across the country, the Morrison Government was last night considering even tougher laws to stamp out groups such as the militant Aussie Farms.

It came as Australians, enraged by militant vegans, vowed to eat more meat in a major backlash against their day of dangerous farm invasions and traffic chaos.

The Government last night wrote to states urging them to beef-up trespass law and urged the Privacy Commissioner to take action against Aussie Farms, meaning they could be hit with fines of up to $500,000 after legislation was introduced into Federal Parliament last week.

And it can be revealed the Government last night raised concerns with the independent national regulator of charities about the charitable status of Aussie Farms, which has an interactive map that encourages activists to storm on to farms. It is unlikely Aussie Farms will keep its taxpayer-funded charity tax concessions, including income tax exemption, GST and fringe benefit tax concessions.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says farmers should sue animal activists. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says farmers should sue animal activists. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

It is understood the Attorney-General's Department is considering paying for a farmer's legal costs to take civil action in a test case against extremist animal rights groups.

It would be considered a case of public importance that could "resolve a question of Commonwealth law that affects the rights of a disadvantaged section of the public".

In one of the more bizarre scenes from yesterday's "national day of action", 18 people who chained themselves to fixtures inside the Carey Bros Abattoir, near Warwick, forced owners to give over three lambs before they would agree to leave. About 100 ­fellow protesters gathered around the property gate from 3.30am as police went inside.

But no charges were laid, with police blaming landowners for not making a formal complaint that would allow them to lay trespass charges. The Courier-Mail understands the business feared reprisals.

Mr Morrison yesterday said state and territory governments should ensure "that the full force of the law is brought against these green collar criminals".

"These farmers, these graziers, these pastoralists are subject to the indecent attacks of green-collar criminals,'' Mr Morison said.

"If there are pastoralists and farmers or graziers or groups that are in a position to actually bring a civil action against these groups, these green-collar criminals who are looking to undermine their livelihood ... then the Commonwealth is totally open to supporting them in a test case, to show these green-collar criminals that you don't get to go and pull the rug from under our Aussie farmers."

Meantime, Attorney-General Christian Porter wrote to his Queensland counterpart Yvette D'Ath asking her to strengthen penalties for criminal trespass, which has a maximum of one year's jail.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told The Courier-Mail last night that farming families feed us and should not be intimidated by activists breaking into their homes.

 

Animal rights protesters are seen at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Street, in Melbourne. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith
Animal rights protesters are seen at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Street, in Melbourne. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith

 

"I'm worried someone will be hurt,'' he said. "Scaring children will not win the respect of Australians. I'll respect the right of others to avoid meat and I'll keep eating steak like I always have."

Aussies have reacted savagely to the wave of vegan protests, taking to social media to share pictures of their "red meat Monday". Diners vowed to switch their salads for steaks in a backlash for being told what to eat by anti-meat marchers.

Several restaurateurs in Brisbane refused to talk to The Courier-Mail last night about business for fear of becoming targets themselves.

One said they had already been the target of vegan hate. Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive Patrick Hutchinson said members appreciated the public support.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner yesterday served up free snags at South Bank and appealed to farmers to become enforcers themselves, documenting action with their own iPhones so police could lay charges.



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