No activism in region little comfort for Gympie producers
GYMPIE region farmers dodged the animal activist bullet yesterday, with the disruptive "day of action” protests across the country failing to materialise in this region.
But not everyone was happy with the peace, despite the protesters' best efforts around the country, which included disrupting Melbourne's CBD traffic and chaining themselves to equipment at an abattoir near Warwick.
Dairy farmer and businessman John Cochrane said the activists' actions, especially their demands that three sheep be freed from the Care Bros Abattoir, could be clearly defined.
"This is terrorism in a different form,” Mr Cochrane said.
"Would they be happy if the farmers came and cut their garden fences down?”
Like the activists, Mr Cochrane said farmers believed they were doing the right thing too.
And the best way to solve the meeting of these conflicting perspectives was to talk about it "around a table”, not by disrupting people's lives, he said.
And he doubted if their antics would put the rest of the country onside.
"Surely it is un-Australian to chain yourself these properties,” he said.
CGL Beef co-owner Karen Jarling said she understood the protestors' arguments, but agreed they needed a different approach.
"I understand activists' intents are good, all they want to do is stand up for animal rights but they are coming at it from a wrong angle. I think better education needs to be implemented,” Ms Jarling said.
"Trespassing is trespassing. Anyone who does it should be prosecuted.”
She said CGL Beef's benefit of being small was a cold comfort.
"Luckily our business isn't that big enough to be on Aussie Maps, but still it doesn't give you much peace of mind knowing that maybe they do have your details and address on record,” she said.
"If our details were on the map, I'd be very concerned.
"My kids play outside, they play dragons and are free spirits.
"I want them to stay like that.
"This is why we moved out here and on a property, so they had space to just be themselves.”
Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett continued his own assault on what believes is the State Government's lax handling of an obvious problem.
"As animal activists storm abattoirs, dairy farms, and feedlots the State Agriculture Minister is now in his drafting room drafting up some regulations,” he said.
"How long are people expected to wait for the Government to get its act together?
"Why don't the police already have the laws they need right now?”
Mr Perrett said the situation had been brewing since January.
"Despite knowing this was going to happen we were told yesterday that "we have begun drafting a new regulation”.
"It is a pathetic response to the families, workers, farming businesses, and even the animals which are under threat.”
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner had defended the Queensland Government, calling Mr Perrett the "Sergeant Schultz of Queensland politics” and saying the state had been "getting on with the job of supporting farmers and enforcing the law”.