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Nationals seek select committee on animal activist threats

The Nationals WA are seeking to establish a Parliamentary committee to instigate new laws aimed at curbing the escalation of animal activist behaviour.

Leader Mia Davies said the committee was urgently needed in the wake of an increase in illegal and intimidating behaviour by extreme animal activist groups.

“It’s time for the Parliament of Western Australia to step up and protect our farmers and our population at large,” Ms Davies said.

“The Nationals have been pursuing this issue for months with no real clarity from Government on what is being done to put people’s minds at ease. A committee would sharpen the discussions and demonstrate to the community and agricultural sector that this is a matter the Parliament takes seriously.

“We need to act because these animal activists will not stop.”

Over recent months regional communities, farmers, and agricultural businesses have been under siege from animal activists.

Activists have brazenly disregarded the law by trespassing on private land, threatening educational institutions, storming restaurants which serve meat and recently live-streaming from inside a piggery that was illegally accessed.

“The publication of an attack map listing the locations and contact details of WA farmers was an appalling invasion of privacy and remains online, putting the safety of individuals at risk,” Ms Davies said.

Agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa said the increasing frequency of incidents highlighted the need for a long-term strategy to deter and combat illegal animal activism and trespassers.

“The Nationals have led the debate in Parliament around how we, as elected lawmakers, can combat these kind of activities, including reviewing legislation around trespass and drone use and the need for additional police resources in rural areas,” Mr de Grussa said.

“We support amendments to the Restraining Orders Act or introducing an aggravated charge of trespass in circumstances where there is a biosecurity risk, or if the trespass is being live-streamed – and there may well be other solutions that emerge should the Committee be given the opportunity to do this work.”

Mr de Grussa said it was now appropriate for Parliament to establish a select committee to investigate these issues and recommend legislation aimed at deterring activism impacting the lawful activity of others.

“All political parties have indicated they have concerns in relation to increased animal activism and the impact it is having in the agricultural sector,” he said.

“This will be an opportunity for them to do more than pay lip service and actually act.”