Slapping trespassing animal activists with on the spot fines is a weak deterrent and offenders need to be brought before the courts, says leading agribusiness legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.
Creevey Russell Lawyers Principal Dan Creevey said government needs to do more to protect those businesses being impacted by animal activist groups.
Mr Creevey said the recently announced Queensland Government plan to crackdown on animal rights protesters by giving police and agricultural officers power to issue on the spot fines to trespassing extremists is inadequate.
“Issuing of fines is inadequate and is a weak deterrent,” he said. “Court proceedings need to follow, and courts should consider recording convictions against those breaking the law.
“We live in a democratic society. If activists want to protest, they have a right to do so, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do things, and trespassing on land, and impacting businesses, is not the right way.”
Mr Creevey said the economic impact of the actions of animal activist groups entering onto private property, chaining themselves to equipment, and disrupting businesses is significant.
“During the period of time the activists are present on their property, farmers and businesses are unable to operate effectively, costing them revenue,” he said.
“Farmers and businesses should be able to go to work and go about their business without fear of being impacted by animal activist groups.”
Mr Creevey said although farmers and businesses may be frustrated as a result of these actions, he urged them to seek appropriate assistance.
“If farmers or businesses are impacted by the protests of animal activist groups, we strongly encourage individuals to not take matters into their own hands. If you are in this situation, contact the police and other authorities urgently and obtain their assistance.”
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