WA farmers’ details listed on animal activists’ online map

Cally Dupe and Zach RelphCountryman
VideoA website that pin points farms and abattoirs around Australia has been labelled a threat to farming families.

The location and contact details of hundreds of WA farms, feedlots, fisheries and abattoirs feature on a digital map created by animal rights charity Aussie Farms, sparking outrage from the National Farmers Federation.

Animal rights charity Aussie Farms created the map, which features thousands of icons - in the shape of pigs, eggs, milk, a butcher’s knife and more - on the location of old and current farms.

Once clicked, the icons reveal business information including contact details of the farmers and the location of the business.

According to their website, Aussie Farms’ ‘core value’ is a belief that animals should not be owned for human purposes.

The group’s Facebook page links to a map with the details of hundreds of farmers, implying a connection to animal cruelty and urging people to gather images, videos and other documents in relation to the addresses revealed.

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson has rubbished the website and Facebook page, saying the map could encourage animal activists to trespass on properties.

She has called for Facebook to close the page and the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission to strip Aussie Farms of its charity status.

“Farmers’ privacy, their right to farm and most disturbingly, their safety and that of their families and animals, are at risk,” Ms Simson said.

“Australian farmers have had enough and we will not stand by and watch attempts to destroy farms, families and rural communities.”

Ms Simson said the NFF had fielded calls from farmers who had been included on the map, in some instances who were represented as running businesses that in fact, they do not.

“They are rightly distressed that their name has incorrectly been linked to ‘animal cruelty’,” she said.

“They are extremely anxious and very angry that their workplace, and their home, has become the target of extreme and dangerous activities.

Aussie Farms has been linked to a number of trespass incidents, including an incident in December where 55 protesters forced their way into an abattoir in Nhill, Victoria.

“Almost every day, we’re seeing examples of activists accessing farms and businesses without permission, seeking to disrupt the work our farmers do,” Ms Simson said.

“The presence of unapproved people in farm environments has the potential to spread bacteria and disease which could impact the whole food chain, not to mention the trade implications.

“It's also important to remember that farms are also family homes”

Ms Simson said NFF would seek a meeting with Facebook’s Australian representatives to discuss the website.

She said she had spoken with the Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and the Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

“I will also write to the police in each state and territory, alerting them to the 'library' of imagery on the Aussie Farms website, questioning how the material was collected,” she said.

Ms Simson said the NFF was seeking legal counsel on the implied link the map makes to the farmers represented and animal cruelty; and in regards to any potential infringement of privacy and trespass laws.

Aussie Farms has been contacted for comment.

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