The illegal activity of animal rights activists in piggeries across Australia has sparked concerns that the standoff between farmers and activists could escalate.
Within the space of a month, animal rights campaigners have allegedly trespassed and filmed illegally at two piggeries near Young in NSW.
Local pig farmers there are angry at repeated violations of privacy, while an animal welfare group says the actions are justified.
The owner of Lansdowne piggery, Ean Pollard, says he found out someone had trespassed on his property after recognising his sheds in footage on social media.
The footage shows dozens of pigs housed in sow stalls. Some of the animals are chewing on the bars of their stalls, while others appear unfazed. The noise is raucous.
Sow stalls are legal in Australia.
Mr Pollard says his stalls comply with industry standards, but says he’s continually working to make his animals more comfortable.
He says this footage was obtained without permission and he’s upset it’s been posted on YouTube, because he says it provides no context.
“They have walked up the alleyways with a camera and I don’t knew what else they are doing, because I know that the sows are making a lot of noise, they’ve certainly got them stressed,” he said.
“They are just trying to get sensationalised footage, you know, getting animals worked up to make the evidence that they are collecting more exaggerated.”
It’s the second alleged case of trespass onto a property in the Young area in the past month.
Edwina Beveridge, of Blantyre Farms, says she found illegally hidden cameras in her pig sheds at the beginning of May.
She says she spent hours searching for intruders after alarms were set off on her farm a few weeks ago.
Australia’s peak body for pork producers, Australian Pork Limited, says it’s the fourth case in Australia in the last six weeks.
CEO Andrew Spencer says he’s angry that animal activists are taking this approach.
“I guess it’s what activists do when they can’t win the argument through rational debate,” he said.
Mark Pearson, from Animal Liberation NSW, says his organisation ‘obtained’ the footage from the two farms in Young.
He says he supports animal activists breaking the law to get evidence of what he calls animal cruelty.
“I feel that it is vindicated that if people are going to keep animals in such as way that they keep intelligent, sentient beings with a great deal of need for behaviour expression, to make money off their back, then that behaviour deserves to be published so that the public see how these animals are treated.”
Mr Spencer says the situation is heading into dangerous territory.
“Look, I am honestly very very concerned about it.
“The thing that really worries me is that there is going to be pig farmers and activists, if these raids continue, that meet in a very emotionally charged situation and I am very very afraid that someone is going to get hurt.” From ABC