Farmer 'She told me lettuces have a heart beat'
AUSSIES farmers are taking to social media to vent their fury at protesting vegans, as pollies tell them to arm themselves with video footage and complain to police if activists storm their properties.
Agricultural Facebook pages are being bombarded with furious messages from farmers, who say they are afraid of being targeted after yesterday's major wave of animal rights protests.
One of those making his voice heard is Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder Brendan Farrell - who takes donated hay to drought affected farmers - who posted a strongly-worded video statement on the protests.
"Vegans are going bananas. Blockades left, right and centre. Flinders Street Station is in chaos. Abattoirs chained up, people locking themselves up here, there and everywhere," he said in the video.
"I am just gobsmacked with some of the bulls**t that's coming out these people's mouths on what they are trying to achieve."
He said an anonymous vegan called him during the protests and said something that almost made him defecate himself with laughter.
"The Sheila (on the phone) goes she didn't like the last post I done on Facebook because lettuces have got a heartbeat," he said. "Lettuce. Has. A. Heartbeat.
"Some people have just got no bloody idea. None."
Other farmers are taking to social media - saying they are concerned about violence.
"So wrong it's come to this, us farmers having to be vigilant while we are out in the paddocks feeding our stock," wrote one farmer from Western Australia.
Some slammed the police response to yesterday's protests as "weak", and some even threatened to take matters into their own hands if they were targeted.
"Weak rules for these invading cult disciples. WHY?" asked another farmer. "Total contradiction to the rules and standards placed on law abiding producers and processors."
"Someone will get hurt soon," warned another. "This is ridiculous. They (the protesters) need to be accountable for what they are doing."
Nationals senator John Williams said there could be "punch-ups" if protesters continued targeting farmers.
"Farmers are not violent people. But when these people go out there and cut the fence and let the livestock out on the road, well farmers might get angry," he told Sky News yesterday.
"And if the chips are down a bit, with the drought etc, you never know what they might do. There might be a punch-up, there might be someone hurt or whatever.
"But these people are promoting the wrong by stirring up and breaking the law."
Farmers' website AustralianFarmers has posted a five-point response sheet for farmers being targeted by activists.
It urges them to "record everything", not to use force - even when 'reasonable force' is used against them - and use caution if they need to intervene.
The warnings come after vegan protesters launched a campaign targeting a busy Melbourne street, abattoirs and farms in Victoria, NSW and Queensland on Monday,
As part of it, more than 20 people invaded the Carey Bros Abattoir near Warwick in southeast Queensland before dawn on Monday as part of a national day of action by animal rights activists.
In response, Queensland's Agriculture Minister Mark Furner is pushing for farmers to help police by gathering evidence against the vegan "zealots".
"What they are doing is breaching the law," he said. "I'm extremely angry and have really had a gutful of these people."
Mr Furner promised on-the-spot fines for activists would be rolled out within weeks but said farmers needed to take action.
"They need to take video footage with their phones or whatever they have available and give that to the police as evidence so that a prosecution will be successful but they need to complain to police to start the process."
KAP Leader Bob Katter said vegan activism targeted two-thirds of employment in North Queensland, namely coal, beef and horticulture.
"Every Australian has the right to put forward his or her point of view ... but you have no right to impose your viewpoint upon other Australians and invade their privacy.
"If the government can't protect a person's right to privacy, their right to food, their right to private property, then you are not a government and you are taking your wages under false pretences," Mr Katter said.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the states must beef-up trespass laws so farm invaders would face serious penalties.
"If I broke into a suburban house in Melbourne or Sydney, I'd expect to be arrested, handcuffed and taken away. Breaking into a farm should be no different."
Attorney-General Christian Porter wrote to Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk to consider investigating Under the Privacy Act the group allegedly behind the activism.
"There are strong grounds to conclude that Aussie Farms Inc is engaging in a systematic effort in collecting, using and disclosing personal information to the detriment of farmers and agricultural producers," the letter dated on Monday states.
Mr Porter also wrote to the state and territory attorneys-general and police ministers to urge them to tighten up their criminal trespass laws.
Privacy laws were changed last Friday which exposed Aussie Farms' website to significant penalties for publishing farmers' addresses and contact details.
Monday's protests coincided with the first anniversary of a film documentary, lobbying against animal cruelty.
"The industry is telling people these animals are being killed ethically, that they are being killed humanely. The reality is ... it's the furthest thing from humane," documentary director Chris Delforce told AAP.
The group wants state and federal agricultural ministers to "acknowledge cruelty in the process of killing animals for food, clothing and entertainment" and to add warning labels on animal products.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the actions of Aussie Farms as being "un-Australian" while speaking on 2GB radio.
He said it was wrong that farmers should be targeted when they are doing it tough during the drought.
Mr Morrison also said the government would offer financial help for farmers in legal action against the protesters.
"If there are pastoralists and farmers that are in a position to actually bring a civil action against these groups ... then the Commonwealth is totally open to supporting them in a test case," Mr Morrison said.
- with AAP