Ag Minister responds to Kingaroy animal rights protest
LOCAL federal member and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud responded to the animal rights protest at the Swickers Abattoir in Kingaroy.
A group of about 20 animal rights activists picketed the entrance to the facility, claiming to be there to "bare witness to the suffering" of the pigs arriving at the facility.
The South Burnett Times sent the Minister a list of questions on his views about the appropriateness of the protest.
Mr Littleproud issued a one-sentence response.
"I expect activists do not impede in the lawful operations of Swickers in any way or pose a public safety risk to the broader community through their actions," Mr Littleproud said.
However, on Sunday the minister welcomed new legislation that could see animal activist groups be stripped of their charity and tax-free status if they target farmers.
"Extreme activist groups who target law-abiding Australian farmers will no longer be able to claim tax-free status for their fundraising efforts, with a broader range of prohibited conduct to be considered against their charitable status," he said.
"New regulations introduced by the Australian Government will now include trespass, unlawful entry, malicious damage or vandalism and threatening violence.
"The changes also strip charitable status from any group that uses their resources to promote or support others to engage in the conduct prohibited by the new regulation.
"I know these changes will be widely welcomed and supported by farmers who live with the very real nightly threat of being attacked and having their property destroyed and vandalised, not to mention the serious biosecurity and animal welfare risks these mindless extremists bring with them."
Yesterday's protest at the Swickers site was entirely peaceful, with activists holding signs and filming trucks bring pigs to the site.
Group leader Amie Joseph-Hall said the group, which included some locals, protested at the site "at least once a year", particularly in the lead up to Christmas.
"(Swickers) being the largest pig slaughterhouse in the southern hemisphere, they do see quite a lot of pigs going through the doors and Christmas is usually the time when people are picking up the legs of the pigs," Ms Joseph-Hall said.
"So we're here to get footage of them in the trucks going inside, the conditions that they're in. And just to show people that they are living breathing, feeling animals as well."
Protester Lisa said the group aimed to encourage locals to think about the food on their plate this festive season.
"We just want to encourage people to make kinder choices - it's Christmas. It's a time of giving and celebrating with family and we just want people to … think about the poor sentient being that has died for their dinner."