A local dairy leader says an animal rights group’s interactive map of farms and slaughterhouses is a call to activism by animal liberationists.
Terry Richardson, a dairy farmer at Deans Marsh in the Otways and president of Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), said the ADF was preparing its members to defend their farms against unwanted visitors.
He rejects the claim by the Aussie Farms group the map is a bid to force transparency on the livestock production industry.
The interactive map on the Aussie Farms group’s website listing the location of thousands of farms and abattoirs “condoned the harassment of our farmers who were just trying to make a living,” Mr Richardson said.
“Farmers are rightfully upset.
“They have seen how aggressive some of these activists can be.”
Many of the farms listed on the website map are in the south-west.
Mr Richardson said information being sent to dairy farmers by the ADF advised them to tell any animal liberationists on their properties to leave or the police would be called. It urged farmers to stay calm, to defend themselves in an appropriate way and avoid aggression.
The information was being sent to inform farmers about their rights and what they could do to limit invasions of their properties such as securing facilities.
Mr Richardson said the ADF joined with the National Farmers Federation in calling for the website map to be taken down off Facebook.
Both the Liberal Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell and Liberal Upper House Member for Western Victoria Beverley McArthur condemned Aussie Farms for releasing the interactive map.
Mrs Britnell said Aussie Farms was accusing farmers of operating places of animal exploitation.
“This is unfounded and defamatory to the families listed on the map,” she said.
Mrs McArthur said federal member for Wannon Dan Tehan had told her the federal government “will be doing all it can to stop this reprehensible behaviour of Aussie Farms” and would also review the group’s charitable status.
Upper House Western Victoria MP Andy Meddick from the Animal Justice party was contacted for comment but no comment was provided.